American cotton As negotiations between the U.S. and China continue, there is optimism for American cotton having a successful future in China. The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing last week where U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer answered questions from committee members on a multitude of topics. A centerpiece of the hearing was the current trade relationship between China and the U.S. and how those negotiations were progressing.
“During that hearing, the concern of the cotton industry and the impact that this current trade situation is having on U.S. cotton producers was referenced by several members of the committee in their questioning of Ambassador Lighthizer,” said Reece Langley, Vice President of Washington Operations for the National Cotton Council.
Lighthizer was confronted with issues that American cotton is facing as a result of the tariffs and fragile trade relationship between the two countries. “Since the retaliatory tariffs have been in place the U.S. market share for cotton exports to China is down more than 50 percent at this point in the marketing year,” said Langley. “It’s critically important that the administration continue its efforts to resolve that trade dispute and restore improved trade flow between the U.S. and China.”
The issues that farmers are facing as a result of the increased tariffs were reported to be a mainstay concern for the Trump Administration. “As you know well, you can’t talk to the President about trade without having the farmers come up. It’s like the first thing he talks about and it’s usually the last thing he talks about too,” Lighthizer told the committee. “It is something we understand that these people have suffered and it’s something that’s in the list of things that we expect them to have substantial increases on and it’s something that the President keeps us very focused on.”
The trade negotiations will take more time and Lighthizer noted that there are still challenges to be overcome as the two countries attempt to find a resolution, but there is hope for the cotton industry as things progress. “In terms of the purchase commitment, absolutely cotton is a factor. It’s something that China needs, has traditionally bought and it’s easy to buy more of,” said Lighthizer.