Interview: U.S. farmers yearn for normal trade with China

2019-05-16 14:08

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by Xinhua writer Xiong Maoling

WASHINGTON, May 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. soybean farmers are frustrated by disrupted U.S.-China trade, and they yearn for "trading as normal" with China, President of the American Soybean Association (ASA) Davie Stephens has said.

With depressed prices and unsold stocks expected to double by the 2019 harvest, U.S. soybean farmers are unwilling to be "collateral damage" in endless trade disputes with China, Stephens told Xinhua in a recent interview.

As Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures are fathoming new lows in more than a decade, Stephens noted that U.S. soybean farmers are now trading over two U.S. dollars less than what it was before the trade flare-up with China. "There has truly been an impact within our industry," said Stephens, who is also a soybean grower from the U.S. state of Kentucky.

With U.S.-China trade tensions still unresolved, Stephens said U.S. soybean farmers are losing a valuable market, and what is worse is that they are losing an opportunity to support their families and the communities. It took U.S. farmers more than 40 years to build the soybean market in China, said Stephens, warning that it will become "increasingly difficult to recover" as the U.S.-China trade row rumbles on.

"The tariffs need to be removed. Let's get back to trading in an open market. That's free trade for both sides," said Stephens.

In a statement released Monday, the ASA said it has consistently opposed using unilateral tariffs to address U.S. trade deficits with China and other countries.

Noting that a wide range of industries in the United States have been hurt by the current trade disputes, Stephens called for negotiations to achieve a win-win outcome as soon as possible.

As the final planting date for soybeans draws closer, it is urgent for the two sides to reach a deal, he stressed.

Some U.S. farmers are still weighing on planting decisions based on the result of the trade talks, and what U.S. farmers want the most is that business can get back to normal, said Stephens.
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