In the middle of ceasefire, South Dakota farmers looking for permanent end to trade war

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- South Dakota farmers are still looking for buyers. Many are still in a rut despite President Trump signing a new Farm Bill into law and easing tensions with China, because they want a permanent deal with the Chinese for stability.

“Please hurry up and get this done,” said Scott VanderWal, president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau.

A 90-day trade war ceasefire between the Chinese and U.S. is underway following months of tariff threats. VanderWal says he understands the Trump administration needs to hold the Chinese accountable in trade practices, but says farmers are hurting as the year comes to a close.

“Our best way out of the economic problems that we’re in right now is find more destinations for our products,” said VanderWal.

He says soybean farmers rely on the Chinese and soybean prices depend on reaching a deal. Senator John Thune (R-SD) says it gets tiresome repeating the phrase “we’ll see what happens.”

“It’s very frustrating and the more you drag this out without a deal, the more anxiety and uncertainty you create in agriculture,” said Thune.

Both VanderWal and Thune are optimistic President Donald Trump will deliver tidings of success on the trade front. The administration says they are protecting farmers from international bullies.

“President Trump is doing everything he can to have the backs of American farmers as he takes on Chinese economic aggression,” said Peter Navarro, a trade advisor to President Trump.

Navarro says deal making with China is a long process considering the laundry list of grievances that need to be addressed, including areas like manufacturing and intellectual property. Navarro says American workers are getting ripped off and pushed out of work.

“We live in a world now where there’s recognition that China is exploiting the United States. That needs to change,” said Navarro.

The U.S. and China have a March 1 deadline to reach a deal before the trade war resumes.