Kansas GOP Senator Asks Trump Admin to Resolve China Trade Dispute: Farmers Are on the ‘Verge of Financial Collapse’

A Kansas Republican senator on Monday urged the Trump administration to resolve America's trade dispute with China to provide “greater market certainty for farmers and ranchers” in the state.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Jerry Moran, the junior senator from Kansas since 2011, pointed to the damage the trade dispute had had on his state's farmers and ranchers.

“Kansas farmers' and ranchers' ability to earn a living depends on selling the food and fiber they group around the world,” the senator wrote. “Without exports, the question becomes: What 48 percent of wheat acres do we no longer plant in Kansas? The income generated by exports keeps Kansas producers in business and sustains our rural communities.”

“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 continued. “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,” he wrote.

Moran's letter came after trade negotiations with China took a step backward earlier this month, which escalated tensions between the two nations even further following more than a year of harsh tariffs from both sides.

Trade discussions between Beijing and Washington collapsed on May 10 as President Donald Trump slapped additional tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. As expected, China retaliated days later with tit-for-tat tariffs on roughly $60 billion of U.S. products.

In a series of tweets, Trump threatened China over the failed negotiations and warned he would tax all the country's imports if it continued to walk back a trade deal. “Tariffs will make our Country MUCH STRONGER, not weaker,” the president tweeted. “Just sit back and watch! In the meantime, China should not renegotiate deals with the U.S. at the last minute. This is not the Obama Administration, or the Administration of Sleepy Joe, who let China get away with ‘murder!'”

Although Perdue announced that about $20 billion would be given to farmers as assistance to alleviate financial tensions brought on by the trade dispute, Moran said in his letter that the solution wasn't “sustainable.”

“This inherent unpredictability of ad hoc disaster assistance underlies the strong preference of farmers and ranchers for markets to sell their livestock and crops instead of government payments,” he said.