U.S. Farmers Have Multiple Concerns When It Comes To Trade Talks
Support for this podcast and the following message. Come from US's online MBA ranked number one by poets in Kwan's NPR listeners reap the benefits of a prestigious USC NBA. Find out if your if it more at USC online, MBA dot org tomorrow US and Chinese negotiators will meet in Washington for talks about the trade war. Now, the stakes are high for everyone. But especially for farmers government data shows that income levels for farmers. Have recently been dropping Republican Senator Chuck Grassley represents Iowa that's a state. That's deeply dependent on agriculture. Grassley himself is from a farming family that grows sway beans and corn. I asked him if his constituents are worried, and he said, the farmers that he's talking to are worried about things beyond just their bottom lines. You don't want to think of farmers only thinking about their own products being sold to China. Farmers know that China's stealing our intellectual property. Our trade says grits, if you want to do business in China, you gotta do it the way they want you to do it. And that's give them or your technology. The farmers know that they're manipulating their currency. As Senator we've spoken to many farmers on morning edition who have told us that their bottom line is being hit hard by the trade war that they are losing tens of thousands hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their concern isn't intellectual property at this point their concern. He's making a living. What do you say to them? Their concern is intellectual property because there's an awful lot of intellectual property goes into the creation of the surplus that we do the government, though has acknowledged that this trade war is hurting farmers. In fact, last year, the government offered farmers bailout money to the tune of twelve billion dollars you as you said you'd apply for it. Did you end up applying? Yeah, I got it on a thirty acres. Soybeans. But I don't know how much money I got. But you're entitled to know if you wanna find out that means that you are far must have been at risk. You must have felt that you were losing money because of the trade war, otherwise you wouldn't have applied for federal bailout money, no participate in every government program. That's available because it's been considered in my generation. Remember, I'm eighty five years old that farmers stick together and participating in the farm program is one way of showing your in the same boat as everybody else's. We talked to a soybean farmer in Ohio, Chris Gibbs about the bailout program. He took the money as well. Here's what he had to say about it twelve billion dollars pumped in agriculture. That's great. But that's only a one time fix early tax payers not going to continue to do that. Why would they for a policy? That's inflicted pain. Byron government onto agriculture NASA. Tariffs he is not that impressed by. This bailout. What do you say to a guy like Chris cubes are Warren impressed by it? And I sat in meetings with ten or twelve other senators a couple of times over the course of the last eighteen months, and we told the president. We don't want aid. We want markets, and we want trade not aid and so- farmers feel the same way that person from Ohio fields. But on the other hand, I can tell you a lot of farmers that said to me, it's hurting us temporarily, but the president's doing the right thing because you lay can't let the Chinese screw us on international trade where we have six hundred billion dollar deficit. It seemed as if the United States and China were really making progress on these trade talks, and then President Trump tweeted this weekend that he plans to impose new high tariffs on Chinese goods. He is affected. -ly upping the ante right now ahead of trade talks that a y. Is move a based upon what I have found out from the executive branch of government from two different sources when our team went to China, we could go they got over there, and they found out that the Chinese had negotiated to a certain level. They got the tex- for that negotiation. And it went way back from where they thought we had brought them to the we can't make the same mistake with China. This time that we made in twenty eleven when we thought we had an agreement with Chinese and they didn't carry it out. So it's time I think to strike a very strong enforceable deal. So that farmers even non-farmers can get the certainty that they need. What is your message for each side here? And what do you think is it stake? If these talks break down what I would say is everybody benefits from. Freer trade. I'd say to China you joined the WTO, and you're in your into an organization that has to live by the rules of trade. Yarn living by him by not enforcing. Let's say intellectual property. I'd say to the United States we ought to be set in the pattern for the rest of the world on trade because that's what we have done since World War Two and Senator to the farmer who says, look, I don't care about intellectual property. I've got a small farm relatively small farm. I just need to make a living. I need to eat. I need to not lose money. Would you tell them? Hold on very definitely if this is all successful. And I know today that's a big if but if this is all successful, not only is that farmer going to be better off. But the entire world is going to be better off because free trade has proven itself with the reduction of. Global poverty with the enhancement of the middle class worldwide. And if this is not successful, if it's not successful will continue to go on and try to accomplish what we can in ways other than China. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Thank you so much for being with us. Thank you, very much goodbye. All right NPR's chief economics. Correspondent Scott Horsely? Was listening into the senators interview, Scott what stood out to you there? Noel, I was just in Senator Grassi's home state of Iowa over the weekend and farmers. There have really suffered a series of gut punches not only low crop prices, and then the trade war. But now they're dealing with historic flooding. Farmers are resilient and like a lot of Americans. They do want to see changes in China's behavior, but they are carrying a heavy load in this trade fight. Chris Gibbs who spoke with earlier this week talked about soybean prices dropping by three dollars a bushel that twelve billion dollar government aid package pays at most a dollar sixty five. A bushel. And that's for farmers who qualify a lot of crops get less than that and Noel, it's not just China in this trade war Trump's withdrawal. From a big Asia. Pacific trade deal is hurting beef farmers who are trying to do business in Japan, dairy, farmers in Wisconsin. And elsewhere in the midwest are hurting because Mexico is not buying as much of our cheese anymore. Senator Grassley himself has complained about the president's tariffs on steel and aluminum America has the world's most productive agriculture. But the president's trade policies have given farmers a tough row to hoe. NPR's chief economics correspondent, Scott Horsely. Thanks got. You're welcome.