GREAT FALLS – Tensions are rising for Montana ag producers, as we learn that one of the world’s biggest oil seed processors is no longer buying from the United States.
This comes after China’s announcement last month regarding tariffs on American shipments of soybeans.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), currently at his family ranch in Big Sandy, said it’s a huge problem and would be very unfortunate if we missed this opportunity with China.
Tester said, “You can not get into a trade war. It’s just not going to work short-term or long-term. And in the end, the people who suffer are the people on the land.”
U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte (R-MT) agrees that the U.S. should not get into a trade war with China, but says its similar to when we threatened to pull out of NAFTA. Gianforte says we gained positive connections with Canada and Mexico after those threats and this could work out the same way.
He adds that foreign markets are critically important to Montanans: “We’re in the middle of a very public negotiation. For the first time we have a President who is standing up for Montana’s interest. I think we are going to get a better trade deal out of this, but we need to enforce fair trade with china, and that’s what’s going on right now.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 61.2% of total U.S. soybean exports worth $14.2 billion went to China in 2016.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News