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US soy farmers call for cool-down of trade tensions

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-05-09 13:17
Soybeans are harvested in Princeton, Illinois, the United States. [Photo provided to China Daily]

CHICAGO - US soy farmers have urged Washington to work for a positive solution to the current tariff dispute with the world's top oilseed buyer China, and avoid further escalation of trade tensions.

In a statement released late Tuesday, the American Soybean Association (ASA) described the threat by US President Donald Trump's administration to increase the tariff rate from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as the "worst case" for US soybean growers.

"This is a predicament for soy growers," said Davie Stephens, ASA president and a soybean farmer from Kentucky.

"With depressed (soybean) prices and unsold stocks forecast to double before the 2019 harvest begins in September, we need the China market reopened to US soybean exports within weeks, not months or longer," he added.

In the statement, the ASA urged Washington to hold off on additional tariffs and rapidly conclude negotiations with China, including lifting the existing Section 301 tariffs in exchange for China removing its retaliatory 25 percent tariff on US soybeans.

"We need a positive resolution of this ongoing tariff dispute, not further escalation of tensions," Stephens was quoted as saying.

The United States announced Wednesday that it would raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, effective on May 10.

China on Wednesday expressed regrets over the planned measures in a statement, saying "China deeply regrets this, and will be forced to take necessary countermeasures if the US side puts the tariff measures into effect."

The Chinese Commerce Ministry also confirmed earlier this week that at the invitation of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is also chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, will visit the United States on Thursday and Friday to attend the 11th round of the bilateral consultation on trade issues.

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