By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
US President Donald Trump recently announced that he has endorsed the order to increase tariff for imported steel and aluminium. As a result, a lot of Chinese products that are exported to the US will face a higher tariff.
Chinese Ministry of Commerce immediately responded that China will increase its tariff against the America grain exported China.
Why was China responding so quickly? Because China has imported American grain or corn at a so low price that it affected the Chinese farmers’ interest. Why?
Because Chinese farmers earned more money before China imported American grain. My brother Shemin whose name means a member of the socialist commune is a farmer. He was both happy and sad when I talked with him over the phone. He was happy to tell me that he harvested 40 tons of corn marking the highest production over the years. But he was not very happy when talking about how much he earned.
He said that he earned just about 60 thousand yuan or 10 thousand dollars for the whole year. Compared with a couple of years ago, when the price of the corn was at one yuan or 1.2 yuan, he could have earned 80 thousand yuan with the current harvest amount. But now the price was only 70 percent of the previous one. although the productivity increased, the profit decreased.
Why? Because Chinese government said the market is deciding the price and China is open to allow import of grain from America. Those pig raising entrepreneurs or farmers spend large amount of dollars imported grains from America with much lower prices. So the American cheap grain actually make the Chinese small farmers lower their income.
This will be very bad for Chinese agriculture because then the Chinese farmers or peasants will leave their land and go to the city to find jobs to earn a salary instead of labouring in the farms with so low income. In the long run, the peasants are forced to be out of their land and larger contractors will come to the countryside to contract the land, then the monopoly of the larger business people will have right to decide the price and the price will be getting higher, either due to the cost or due to the monopoly. But then the ones who complain will not only be farmers, but the urban citizens.
So far, Chinese government has get rid of agricultural tax and also give a little subsidies. But that subsidies are so little compared with the French farmers’. That is only 200 yuan per mu or 30 dollars per acre. That is too little.
I hope the Chinese government should consider this issue and really care about farmers’ interest.