The trade war of Trump against China has affected the soybean exports badly. Illinois soybean exports reduced to a third of level three years ago. Richard Guebert, Jr., the President of the Illinois Farm Bureau, testified before Congress on Wednesday. He renewed the call for trade, not aid in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.
Guebert praised the natural location of Illinois to serve both local and foreign markets in terms of soybean. He said that Illinois was located at a position where it had good access to the railroads and rivers. In 2016, the Illinois farmers exported $2.3 billion in soybean. Most of the Illinois soybean is exported to China, according to Guebert.
Guebert added that the trade war hit soybean exports in 2018. The cost of grain storage increased due to the steel tariffs imposed by the Trump administration. Guebert said that the Chinese retaliatory tariffs cut the soybean exports to half last year. The profitability of the farmers also reduced badly in Illinois and Midwest, the president pointed.
Guebert said, “We are about a third where we were just three years ago.” He was concerned about the declined working capital. It is hard for farmers to purchase new equipment due to the high taxes. Guebert renewed farmers’ call for trade, not aid. The farmers are facing hard times as they do not have access to overseas markets. It is hurting them as 96% of the soybean consumers do not live in the US. Guebert said, “That’s not a theory, that’s reality.”
He showed optimism for the renewal of trade with China. Guebert said, “Farmers and ranchers all across America are optimistic.” The US government signed the first phase of a trade pact with China last year. The farmers are hopeful and optimistic due to this important economic uplift signed last year. Guebert added, “We patiently await the benefits on this new trade agreement.” Guebert highlighted the effects of the trade war on Illinois farmers in the testimony.