Oklahoma Farmers Optimistic After China Removes Tariffs On Soybeans, Pork

Monday, December 9th 2019, 8:22 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

Beijing is lifting the punitive tariffs on U.S. soybeans and pork. But at this point we still don’t know exactly what that will mean for Oklahoma Farmers.

The trade war is taking a toll on Oklahoma soy and pork farmers. China and the U.S. have jacked taxes on each other’s products by billions of dollars. So, any relief from those tariffs is met with cautious optimism.

“What we’re looking for is some movement on the Chinese front. We need to get this trade issue resolved,” said Roy Lee Lindsey of the Oklahoma Pork Council.

In terms of pork, China needs it and the U.S. has it, but the tariffs are making it cost prohibitive.

“They’ve lost probably half of their domestic hog herd. Which is about 25% of the world’s pork supply. The opportunities for the U.S. pork industry now if we could access that market would be astronomical,” Lindsey said.

With tariff -free access to the Chinese pork market, experts say the U.S. could reduce its trade deficit by as much as six percent, or about $24.6 billion in new revenue into the U.S. 

Today those tariffs are about 72% on U.S. pork.

On soy, “a huge percent of the overall American production, especially Oklahoma production goes to China.  So, when the spigot to China was turned off and they switched to buying from Brazil and other countries it left way more supply than we need for the American market,” said Rodd Moesel with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

Farmers say they want a trade truce so they can do what they do best. Farm.

“Forty percent of the income for soybean farmers this year was going to be the market assistance payments making up for not having those export markets.  But don’t really want government payments,” said Moesel. “We want markets.”