I was just reading an article about Kevin Kester, volunteer president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association written by Peter Coy in the Jan. 20, 2019, issue of Bloomberg Businessweek. The article talks about how America’s pulling out of the TPP talks is leaving the American cattle business out of the picture in Asia. This is especially true in Japan where the Australian beef producers are in the process of taking over the beef market that used to belong to us. And by the way, the Japanese beef market (as I’m sure the local cattlemen already know) is the largest export market for our beef.
Kester and the association are pushing Trump to reconsider, but so far it appears to be a waste of time and effort.
Our share of the Asian markets is under siege, including other agricultural products, because of the Trump tariff battles with Asia, and China in particular. What some Americans fail to realize is that tariff fees on imported goods are passed directly on to the American consumer, as they always have been. The exporting country does not pay the tariff, we do. We may punish the exporting country by reducing their exports, but in the meantime America's costs goes up.
Interestingly, the EU and Asia countries have begun to negotiate their own trade agreements, leaving us out. Meaning, our access to these markets is being diminished and further restricted. We are not gaining by the tariff wars. We are losing. And will we regain the soybean market in China and beef market in Japan when this is all over? No, according to the experts who study international trade. The business is gone for the foreseeable future.
Please keep this in mind as you communicate with our senators and representatives. Are they working in our best interests? Let them know what makes a difference to you.
Mark D. Anderson