September 23, 2019
Latest News

US dairy farmers: 2018 was critical, 1 in 7 farms closed

 President Donald Trump participates in a White House meeting on Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 4, 2019. EFE-EPA / MICHAEL REYNOLDS

President Donald Trump participates in a White House meeting on Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 4, 2019. EFE-EPA / MICHAEL REYNOLDS

By Alfonso Fernandez

Washington, Sep 8 (efe-epa).- "In 2018, things were critical. We registered the closure of one in seven farms due to the impact of the tariffs," Jaime Castaneda, the vice president of the US National Milk Producers Federation, told EFE.

US dairy farmers, one of the sectors most affected by the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing, are pointing out the damage they have suffered and are looking forward with trepidation to a period of prolonged economic uncertainty.

Before the first round of tariffs imposed on Chinese imports by US President Donald Trump and Beijing's tit-for-tat retaliatory measures, the Chinese market was the one that had been growing fastest for US dairy products.

Castaneda said that during the first six months of 2018, exports to China had grown by almost 20 percent compared with the previous year.

"However, as soon as the tariffs were imposed (in May 2018), dairy exports to China dropped. In the second half of the year, exports fell 32 percent, despite the fact that China was buying 10 percent more dairy products overall," he said in an interview with EFE.

If the focus is expanded to a whole year, from July 2018 to July 2019, the impact is even worse: exports to China plunged by 42 percent.

Although the organization acknowledged Beijing's unfair business practices in other areas - which, among other things, Trump's trade war is aiming to halt - discontent among dairy farmers is noteworthy since they think "that it should have been done in another way."

"We'd have liked to face these issues with other countries, like France and Spain, who have the same problems we have (with China), and not to do it alone," he said.

Castaneda said that the policy adds complexity to the scenario in the sector, especially given that next year Trump is seeking re-election.

"We should be dealing with the issues one by one. We understand that the president has just four years here, while the Chinese president, obviously is president for life. That clearly complicates things. You end up trying to do too many things at the same time," he said.

The main US dairy producing states are California, Wisconsin, New York, Idaho and Pennsylvania.

Of those, traditionally Democratic Wisconsin and Pennsylvania backed Trump in 2016 and were determining factors in the Republican mogul's election victory, and support for him from the agricultural and livestock sector will be key to his re-election.

After months of denying that the tariff war would have any effects on US producers, pressure and complaints from the sector have resulted in forcing the White House to announce two multi-million dollar packages of financial aid to farmers.

"That's not the solution, we've said on numerous occasions," Castaneda said.

But beyond election considerations, he said, the basic problem is "the need to open new markets," something that Europe is doing by negotiating agreements that "are advantageous for them" - like the one recently reached with the Mercosur trade bloc.

"We're lagging behind by closing off these markets with trade wars," Castaneda lamented.

After being the big driver for free trade worldwide, it is surprising that at present the US is the defender of protectionism and that it has launched a tariff war.

Castaneda said that during the Barack Obama administration (2009-2017), there was no big push to open markets and nobody had spoken clearly about "free trade" since the previous administration of George W. Bush (2001-2009).

"But it's true that the extreme positions of this government had not (yet) been seen," he said, referring to Trump, who came into the White House with an aggressive agenda of economic nationalism.

However, the president does not seem inclined to back down and he has already announced the raising of tariffs on hundreds of other Chinese products, the latest round coming in late August, promising yet another series of tariff hikes in December according to which the entire gamut of Chinese-made products will be subject to heavy tariffs.

Beijing, once again, has replied with similar measures and redoubled its pressure on the battered US dairy sector.

News history
Tesla stock has risen this month as its 3rd-quarter numbers approach

By David Marino-Nachison

Australian Navy begins sea trials of 3rd air warfare destroyer

Sydney, Australia, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Australia has begun the first phase of sea trials of its third and final Air Warfare Destroyer, the Department of...

Nissan Motor CEO steps down in the wake of bonus scandal

Tokyo, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Hiroto Saikawa stepped down from his post as chief executive officer of Nissan Motor on Monday and has been replaced by Yasuhiro...

Trump says US is "locked and loaded" to respond to attack on Saudi oil

Washington DC, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Sunday warned that his administration was "locked and loaded" to respond to a recent...

Nissan CEO steps down over bonus scandal

Tokyo, Sep 9 (efe-epa).- Nissan Motor's CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, will step down on 16 September on the back of an investigation into over payments the executive...

Volkswagen to pay multi-million-dollar settlement over 'dieselgate' Australia

Sydney, Australia, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- German car giant Volkswagen has agreed to pay millions in compensation to those affected by its diesel emissions...

General Motors braces for first nationwide strike in 12 years

Washington DC, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- The United Automobile Workers trade union on Sunday called for a nationwide strike of 48,000 employees at General Motors,...

Mexico seeks to topple Brazil's Volkswagen Guinness World Record

Puebla, Mexico, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- The Mexican state of Puebla over the weekend attempted to take the Guinness World Record for the most Volkswagen vehicles...

Argentina's gov't to present new budget amid economic woes

Buenos Aires, Sep 15 (EFE).- Finance Minister Hernan Lacunza will present the proposed 2020 budget to the Argentine Congress this week, a budget that will...

World's biggest oil producer reduces output by 50 percent after Saudi attacks

By Suleiman al-Assad

Battle to power electric vehicles reaches Sweden

By William Boston

Are central banks losing their clout?

By Randall W Forsyth

Ecotourism, the answer to Latin America's rural development needs

By Maria Jose Brenes

Havana-based cigar maker says it doesn't foresee Helms-Burton lawsuits

Havana, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Habanos S.A., a Spanish-Cuban joint venture that is a leading maker of Premium cigars, said Friday it does not believe it is at...

US pledges to increase trade with Brazil, without mentioning bilateral deal

Washington, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised his Brazilian counterpart here Friday that exchanges of goods and services between...

Mexicans make drinking straws from reeds to curb use of plastic

Jose de Jesus Cortes

London, Sep 13 (EFE).- The London Design Festival returns this weekend to the British capital with events and facilities bringing together the best of the...

China exempts US soy, pork products from tariffs ahead of US negotiations

By Paula Escalada Medrano.

Vaping giant Juul Labs debates pushing back on US' new ban on e-cigarettes

By Jennifer Maloney

Trump's plans for oil drilling in Arctic refuge clear big hurdle

By Timothy Puko

IMF: US-CHINA TRADE WAR STARTING TO WEIGH ON GLOBAL ECONOMY

Washington, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that the trade war between the United States and China is already triggering a...

Argentina’s obsession with the dollar, a vicious circle amid a crisis

By Rodrigo García

New tariffs applied on Chinese imports to the US

Beijing, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- China's Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has postponed the planned 25 percent tariffs on 16 products from the...

EU's top diplomat visits Mexico to boost trade agreement

By Eduard Ribas i Admetlla

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.