LINCOLN, Neb. – As Nebraska farmers and ranchers continue to suffer the negative economic and market effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nebraska Farm Bureau is urging President Trump to use the “full powers” of his office to enforce the Phase One China trade deal. Provisions of the agreement obligate China to make $36.5 billion in U.S. agriculture purchases in 2020.
“While some agricultural purchases have been made, China is woefully behind in terms of meeting the agriculture targets outlined in the in the Phase One deal,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “In order to reach the $36.5 billion in imports China agreed to, purchases must drastically increase, and that must start today.”
In a letter to President Trump, Nelson pointed out that as of the end of April, China had imported approximately $4.6 billion worth of agricultural goods. The amount falls far short of the pace set back in 2017 of $7.1 billion; the last year of normal trade relations between the two countries.
China has been a vital market for Nebraska farmers and rancher, serving as a consistent top three market for Nebraska agriculture products year in and year out. Prior to 2018, Nebraska agriculture exports to China ranged from $936 million to more than $1 billion, equating to 15 percent of Nebraska’s total agriculture exports. The value of exports to China during that time equated to roughly $19,300 per farm in Nebraska.
“For more than two years, Nebraska’s farm and ranch families have felt the economic consequences of the trade war with China…a war they both understand and largely support. However, that support is based on the promise of more export markets and a better deal for farmers and ranchers when the dust settles. Now is the time to ensure China fully complies and meets their agricultural import targets as part of this historic agreement,” said Nelson.