Heartland soybean farmers fear the worst with Chinese tariffs taking effect

July 6, 2018 – Soybean farmers across the Midwest are on the frontlines of the blossoming trade war between the US and China with each country imposing $34 billion in tariffs on the other’s exports because no agreement was reached by today’s deadline.

After months of rhetoric, a 25 percent levy on $34 billion of Chinese goods entering the US took effect just after midnight Washington time Friday with farming plows and airplane parts among the products targeted. China hit back immediately via duties on US shipments including soybeans and automobiles.

soybeans

Neither side shows any signs of backing down. Trump is already eyeing another $16 billion of Chinese goods and suggesting the final total could top $500 billion, more than the US bought in 2017. China’s Commerce Ministry accused the US of “bullying” and igniting “the largest trade war in economic history.”

China’s government announced it is retaliating against US tariffs with a 25 percent tariff on soybean imports. The addition of that tax make soybeans too expensive for Chinese importers and virtually block US soybean exports to China.

“Soybean trade between the US and China is the single largest trade flow in agriculture that we have today,” said Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. “We are selling roughly 30 percent of all the soybeans that we grow in this country to China.”

The Trump administration is reportedly working on a strategy to compensate farmers as the tariffs are put in place this week, but no details have been released.

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