Farmers will pay more for pesticides if tariffs are raised on chemical imports from China.
Leadership at CropLife America joined the ranks of U.S. businesses concerned about possible new tariffs on imported products from China. For more than a week, companies have been testifying before the U.S. Trade Representative's panel on the 25% proposed tariffs against as much as $325 billion in imported Chinese products.
Chris Novak, CEO of CropLife America, testified Monday before the USTR panel. Novak warned the tariffs could increase costs for pesticides and other products by several hundred million dollars per year. Earlier tariffs imposed on such products already raised prices, Novak said.
"While we appreciate the Administration’s willingness to undertake tough measures to discourage trade practices that disadvantage our industry, we believe these proposed tariffs will have immediate, negative effects on farmers, consumers, and our members. After the administration imposed tariffs last September on certain agrochemicals, the producer price index for these products skyrocketed,” Novak told the trade panel.
CLA stated, "Many of the chemicals covered by the proposed tariffs are not produced in the U.S., and it is not easy to resource these products. All new sources for pesticide active ingredients used in the U.S. market are subject to a time-consuming Environmental Protection Agency clearance process. Due to the limited existing capacity outside of China, and the difficulties of bringing new sources online, it is inevitable that the additional tariffs will increase the prices of critical tools for U.S. farmers."
Novak testified for CLA and the group Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE). He added the tariffs would increase prices for nurseries and lawn and garden companies, as well as consumers who use pesticides or other products.
"The burden of these tariffs will fall disproportionately on the shoulders of American farmers, businesses, and consumers without truly advancing the cause of free and fair trade," Novak said.
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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