Montana feels the effects of Trump trade policies

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s agriculture industry has experienced negative impacts of Trump administration tariffs on foreign products and withdrawal from agreements with countries that generate vital revenue, according to officials.
The state is dealing with a blow that trade policy has landed on more than $1 billion in annual revenue generated by Montana agricultural products, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Sunday.
Among the effects of tariffs between the U.S. and China, exports of Montana’s lucrative hard red spring wheat to China have collapsed, while the January 2017 U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership removed Montana’s preferential trade access to Japan, one of its most important markets for its large wheat and cattle exports, the newspaper reported.
While attention is focused on China, trade with Japan “needs to be addressed quickly and might be more of a concern for Montana farmers,” said Collin Watters of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee, which found that wheat and barley farmers have lost $150 million due to current trade policies.
In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized up to $12 billion in financial assistance to farmers, including $1.2 billion to offset lost export revenue and $200 million to expand foreign markets, both of which help Montana, the newspaper reported.
The Montana Grain Growers Association said subsidies gave some farmers 14 cents per bushel, but tariffs and withdrawal from the Pacific agreement cost them about $1.40 per bushel.
“We’re looking at a year where we are not only not going to break even, but we might not be able to pay the bills,” said Lyle Benjamin, the association’s president.

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