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US farm lobby calls for swift end to China trade war

US farm lobby calls for swift end to China trade war

WASHINGTON, May 18: A major US farming organization called Wednesday for a swift resolution to the trade war with China, saying lost exports were exacerbating the burden of an industry already in hard times, reports AFP. The American Farm Bureau Federation released a letter dated Tuesday to President Donald Trump saying “time is running out for many in agriculture.” With farm revenues cut in half over the last six years on falling commodity prices, bankruptcies have shot up in the Midwestern US breadbasket as many farmers struggle to pay down their debts, according to the Farm Bureau. The trade war with China, however, has gutted US farm exports to what had been a giant market for US soybeans and pork, among others. “US farmers and ranchers now face a third wave of tariff increases by China in retaliation against the latest increase in US tariffs,” Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said in the letter. Some farmers recovering from devastating floods have simply decided to skip planting this season due to the lack of export markets, he added. “We ask that your trade negotiators make a deal as soon as possible to end the tariffs that are slashing our exports, destroying a once-promising market for agriculture, worsening the farm economy, and contributing to high levels of stress and uncertainty for many farm and ranch families and other Americans whose jobs are connected to agricultural production.” Trump had told farmers Tuesday to take heart, claiming that they ultimately would benefit from a realignment of trade relations with China. He has likewise promised to boost aid packages to farms that have lost income, using revenue generated by the tariffs charged on Chinese imports. In July 2018, the government unveiled a $12 billion bailout fund and US farmers already receive about $20 billion in annual assistance through various aid programs. Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soybean futures edged higher on Wednesday, as short-covering continued to support the soybean market. However, closing prices of the oil seed are lower than their daily highs, as investors are taking short positions and heading toward exit doors. The most active soybean contract for July delivery added 4 cents, or 0.48 percent to close at 8.355 dollars per bushel. July corn delivery was up 0.75 cent, or 0.2 percent to close at 3.695 dollars per bushel. July wheat delivery was up 0.25 cent, or 0.06 percent to close at 4.4875 dollars per bushel. CBOT soybean futures firmed after big gains on Tuesday, as traders turned to short-covering and bargain buying. At the same time, planting delays in the U.S. Midwest supported the crop prices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday reported that the planting pace for corn and soybeans was slower than expected amid widespread wet and cold weather. CBOT corn futures hit a six-week high on Wednesday on forecasts for worrisome rains in the U.S. Midwest crop belt, analysts said. Strength in corn and soybean prompted some short-covering in wheat futures.

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