Colorado agriculture gets some good news on tariffs; but trade winds still stormy for farmers, other businesses

In the thick of the U.S.-China tariff battles, there’s good news from the trade front for farmers and ranchers in Colorado and crosswise the country: Japan is lifting longstanding restrictions on the imports of U.S. beef and President Donald Trump is lifting tariffs on aluminum and steel from Mexico and Canada.

Both announcements came late last week as farmers were calculation out how China’s latest batch of retaliatory tariffs will affect them

Agricultural products are a main target of the tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods. China announced the tariffs May 13 after the Trump administration boosted duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percentage from 10 percentage.

“That’s big news. The restriction goes back to 2003,” Tom Lipetzky, the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s director of marketing programs aforementioned of the announcement about Japan.

Japan has in agreement to eliminate the last of the age restrictions on U.S. beef that were first obligatory when a case of alleged mad-cow unwellness was according in 2003 in Washington state. The fatal brain unwellness, bovine spongiform brain disorder, is more prevailing in older cattle. Japan ab initio prohibited all U.S. beef and then allowed meat from jr. animals.

Beef is Colorado’s No. 1 agricultural export, totaling about $1 billion yearly.

“The lifting of Japanese import restrictions on U.S. beef is fantastic news for Colorado ranchers. accumulated access to our leading export market for beef will provide a huge chance for the beef industry and further bolster science-based trade standards,” Shawn cocktail, the Colorado Farm Bureau’s vice president of advocacy, aforementioned in an email.

RELATED:Colorado businesses caught in crosswinds of U.S.-China trade battle

The same day the Trump administration announced the news about Japan, it aforementioned it was repealing the tariffs obligatory about a year ago on aluminum and steel from Canada and Mexico. Colorado farmers and ranchers have aforementioned they’ve faced higher compensation for fencing, irrigation systems and other equipment.

Dale McCall, president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s board of directors, aforementioned his family, which farms in Yuma County, was in the process of buying a new mechanical device system when the tariffs on the metals were announced.

“The day after we got one price, they aforementioned they had to add $1,300. The tariff on steel caused it to go up that much,” McCall aforementioned.

Another problem, Lipetzky aforementioned, was that Canada and Mexico, Colorado’s top trade partners, retaliated by slapping tariffs on pork and other agricultural goods. He aforementioned the tariffs have been one of the stumbling blocks in approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or North American Free Trade Agreement.

Leaders of the three countries smitten the deal late last year, but it still has to be sanctioned by lawmakers of each nation.

Approval of the trade agreement will provide farmers and ranchers, not yet troubled with low trade good prices, a little more certainty, McCall aforementioned. “While we see the agreement as making only minor improvements over North American Free Trade Agreement, I guess we’ll take some minor improvements at this time.”

Still looming for Colorado farmers, ranchers and other business people is fallout from the accumulated tariffs on Chinese goods and the prospect of levies on $300 billion worth of new items. As payback, China is hike fees on frozen beef from the U.S., one of the exports Colorado was gaining traction on, Lipetzky aforementioned.

The Trump administration started imposing tariffs on Chinese goods to stop what it says is ongoing theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced transfers of technology when American companies want to sell their goods in China.

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“I know the trade secrets have to be addressed,” McCall aforementioned. “But one of the property that I’m still concerned about is I wish we would’ve gone together with our allies against China. I think we would’ve had more leverage.”

The outdoor recreation industry, whose economic impact in Colorado is an estimated $28 billion, not yet pays higher-than-average tariffs on foreign goods, aforementioned Patricia Rojas-Ungar, vice president of government affairs for the Boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association.

“A lot of small businesses will have to bear these compensation or pass them on to consumers,” Rojas-Ungar aforementioned.

The trade dispute has left galore outdoor businesses nationwide scrambling to see if they can shift their manufacturing to other countries. Marketing, designing new products and, in some cases, expansion plans have been put on hold “so people can try to think about what do they do if these tariffs go into effect,” Rojas-Ungar aforementioned.

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