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Group says trade war harms Delaware farmers

February 18, 2019

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., along with Greenwood soybean farmer and Delaware Farm Bureau President Richard Wilkins, recently joined a bipartisan group of senators and business owners for a news conference to discuss the negative impacts of President Trump’s trade policies on Delaware and the nation’s agricultural community.

“The president’s reckless trade wars are hurting consumers, business owners, retailers, manufacturers and farmers all across the country,” said Carper. “In Delaware, shipments of steel and aluminum are the fourth-largest import cargo arriving at the Port of Wilmington. And while we may be a small state, Delaware is an agricultural powerhouse, with 41 percent  of the state’s total land devoted to farming. Haphazardly slapping tariffs on these products has put Delawareans and our regional economy in the crosshairs of a trade war where everyone loses. With members from both sides of the aisle speaking out, I’m hopeful that we can prevent further damage from being done, and put hardworking farmers, small business owners and manufacturers first.”

Last year, the price of soybeans – one of Delaware’s largest agricultural commodities – plummeted nearly 20 percent in just two months. Today, soybean prices continue to remain low and threaten Delaware’s farming industry.

“Last July, when the tariffs were placed on steel and aluminum imports into this country, and China placed retaliatory tariffs on United States soybeans going into China, that started a slide in the value of the commodity that I produce – soybeans – of 20 percent,” said Wilkins. “On top of that, we rely upon steel and aluminum in the products that we need to run our businesses. We’ve seen 25 percent increases in the cost of some of those we have to purchase. Our message is, please rescind these tariffs today.”