Making Our Voice Heard On Trade Concerns

July 18, 2018

The reality of trade retaliation has begun to set in, In the wake of the administration’s imposition of Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. Since the tariffs were imposed in June, the U.S. agricultural sector has faced retaliatory tariffs from Mexico, Canada, the EU, China, Turkey, and India among others. The U.S. dry bean industry, in particular, is on the trade retaliation list from China and the EU. As China is a competitor and not a significant export market for U.S. dry beans, the primary concern right now is the 25% retaliatory tariff on imports of all U.S. dry beans to the EU. As our largest regional export market with over 140,000 MT of dry beans, the losses to our industry could be in the millions of dollars. We are already feeling the impact. In response to concerns regarding losses stemming from what could be a protracted trade dispute with the EU, USDBC has taken several recent actions:

  1. Developed talking points for the industry to use with relevant Congressional representatives.
  2. Sent a letter from USDBC President Deon Maasjo to all dry bean state Senators and Congressional representatives in key growing districts, outlining our concerns and asking for relief.
  3. Sent a letter to USDA Undersecretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney, with suggestions for a trade mitigation plan to help our industry remain resilient during this challenging time.

This is in addition to previous collaboration with global colleagues in the EU in an attempt to avoid tariffs on dry beans. We have been told by EU trade authorities that the only path for tariff relief is for the U.S. to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum. While we continue to advocate for Section 232 tariff exemption for the EU, we are identifying interim measures and working to maintain our global trade dynamics in this difficult climate. If you are interested in seeing any of the letters drafted, they will be posted on the members-only site.

Posted in: Bean Bulletin