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Press Releases

May 15, 2019
Statement from VDACS on China Tariffs
Elaine Lidholm, VDACS, 804.786.7686

The escalating tariff battle between the U.S. and China will have a negative impact on Virginia agriculture, the state’s largest private industry. China was Virginia's second largest market for agricultural and forestry exports in 2018, with $235.3 million in sales. Of this total, $101.9 million was for forest products and $58.5 million for soybean shipments.

Virginia’s agribusiness exports to China decreased dramatically from $691 million in 2017, largely as a result of trade tensions and initial retaliatory tariffs imposed a year ago. Now the situation is escalating further and China has announced its intention to retaliate with additional tariffs on U.S. agricultural commodities and other products (possibly starting June 1).

If we cannot quickly resolve the situation of escalating tariffs, China will continue to replace Virginia imports with products from other countries that can enter at a lower tariff rate. This will negate years of business negotiations and relationship building with importers in China. A continued and heightened trade battle could have dire consequences for Virginia producers of soybeans and lumber, as well as other top export products such as pork, cotton and seafood.

We hope that dialogue between our U.S. trade negotiators and their counterparts in China will resume immediately and defuse this tense situation. It is crucial that Virginia and other states keep their critical export market channels open for farmers, agribusinesses and wood products companies.

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