Durbin, Bustos Discuss Impact of Proposed Tariffs with Local Agricultural Leaders

PEORIA U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) today met with local agricultural leaders to discuss how President Trump’s threats of a trade war would impact Illinois farmers and rural communities. In response to President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs announced last month, China has announced plans for tariffs on many U.S. commodities, including products that are critical to the Illinois economy, such as soybeans and pork. Illinois is consistently one of the top exporting agricultural states, sending over $8 billion worth of agriculture commodities to other countries.


“As the nation’s largest producer of soybeans, and a top producer of pork, Illinois will feel China's retaliation to threats of a trade war more than most,” Durbin said. “These retaliatory tariffs won’t just hurt farmers, the effects will ripple through our entire state. Instead of undermining our farmers and holding our rural economy hostage, I urge the President to reconsider these reckless tariffs.”


“The Trump trade war is hurting thousands of hardworking farmers across the heartland and I’m deeply concerned by how his impulsive decisions are undermining our economy. President Trump is treating us like flyover country and the farmers I’ve met with are sick of it. Senator Durbin and I are committed to doing everything in our power to get President Trump to do the right thing and end this trade war before it kills family farms across the Midwest,” Bustos said.


As the largest soybean producer in the nation, Illinois grows more than 600 million bushels annually. Last year, soybeans provided $7.48 billion in gross state product. The Chinese market purchases about 25 percent of Illinois’ soybeans, representing an estimated value of $1.75 billion in soybean exports. According to the Illinois Soybean Association, raising and crushing of soybeans and closely related provides $28.3 billion in sales and 114,500 jobs to the state. Illinois also exported 500,000 metric tons of pork to China last year, worth approximately $660 million in economic value.


Nationally, agriculture and agriculture related industries are responsible for 17.3 million full and part-time jobs, about 10% our nation’s employment.