U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of both the Senate Finance Committee and Senate Agriculture Committee, today pressed Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on the harmful effects that the White House’s proposal to move forward with hundreds of billions of dollars in additional tariffs would have on South Dakota’s agriculture industry.
Thune’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. Secretary, the White House’s decision to impose tariffs under the Section 301 investigation is very concerning. This decision walks back an earlier announcement that the United States and China had reached a tentative deal that would increase agricultural exports to China and put the implementation of tariffs on hold. What’s more, the president’s proposal to move forward with hundreds of billions of dollars in additional tariffs threatens to severely damage the agriculture industry at a time when producers are already experiencing low prices in a down farm economy.“In fact, one commodities analyst this week described current commodity markets as ‘wildly dangerous,’ largely due to trade uncertainties. The recent one-dollar drop in soybean prices will potentially cost soybean producers in just my home state of South Dakota, alone, $225 million. Corn, wheat, beef, and pork are all suffering market price declines, as well due to current trade policies – and I’d like to drive home the point that with every passing day, the United States loses market share to other countries competing with our ag product markets – some of it unlikely to be recaptured.”