GOP senator calls for resolution of trade dispute: 'Farmers and ranchers are hurting'

GOP Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug bill Senators inch forward on federal privacy bill MORE (Kan.) called Monday for the resolution of the U.S. and China's trade dispute in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerduePlan to lift roadless rule in Alaska's Tongass national forest threatens economy House Democrat asks USDA to halt payouts to Brazilian meatpacker under federal probe From state agriculture departments to Congress: Our farmers need the USMCA MORE, highlighting damages to farmers.

“The tariffs our country levied against China, and China’s retaliatory tariffs targeted at our farmers and ranchers, threaten to cause long term damage to U.S. agriculture,” Moran wrote. 

“Kansas farmers and ranchers understand the need to hold China accountable for bad behavior on trade. Yet, net farm income has fallen by 50 percent since 2013 and the trade war has pushed commodity prices down even further. Many farmers and ranchers are on the verge of financial collapse,” Moran added.

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Tensions have risen since trade negotiations between the U.S. and China collapsed earlier this month.

The Trump administration raised tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of imports, and China responded by targeting $60 billion worth of U.S. agricultural exports.

The president has threatened another round of tariffs on Chinese imports as the trade dispute escalates.

Trump has announced his administration will provide $15 billion in assistance to farmers hurt by the trade clashes and recommended people avoid buying from China.

“The President has encouraged U.S. consumers to not buy goods from China as a way to avoid paying tariffs,” Moran wrote.

“However, consumers changing their purchasing decisions to avoid the tariffs provides no solution or relief for Kansas and other states who are dependent on selling what we produce to China and other foreign markets,” he added. “The same logic expressed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE applies to foreign buyers who are choosing to no longer purchase U.S. agriculture commodities in a similar attempt to avoid the retaliatory tariffs applied to our exports.”