Soybeans are one of 106 USA products with proposed tariffs in China announced on April 4.
The list of 1,300 Chinese products the U.S.is targeting with tariffs spared some American industries, punished others and left many struggling to figure out if they would be hurt or not. They do and they expect others to play by the rules.
"I knew it was coming", said Ian Sheldon, an agricultural economist, who serves as the Andersons Chair in Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy with The Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
Questions over whether the world's two largest economies were engaged in discussions swirled on Friday after a spokesperson for China's Commerce Ministry told reporters that Beijing and Washington were not now in talks.
The industry has since urged President Trump to capitulate in the trade war before any real and lasting damage is done.
"China buys more of our soybeans than all of the other countries combined", said Mark Albertson of the Illinois Soybean Association.
Those fears have become exacerbated in the wake of Beijing's "Made in China 2025" program, which seeks to replace advanced technology imports with domestic products.
Like farmers all over the country, they're watching and waiting to see what happens with tough tariff talk between the United States and China.
The USTR list of tariffs - an additional tax on imports - excluded several consumer-focused products, such as cellphones and laptops assembled in China, but would affect Chinese-manufactured flat-panel televisions and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), should it come into force.
"We want to sell more goods around the world", said Mnuchin, who repeatedly pointed to the disparity in the US-China trade relationship. "I would expect that there would be a shift to markets that don't have tariffs".
"It appears the Chinese are attempting to get the attention of the Trump administration by harming numerous people who voted for the president in the first place", Gary Bailey, the commission's chairman and a farmer based in St. John's, said in a statement. Here in IL, we grow more soybeans than any other state.
He said the United States has a $450-million trade surplus with Canada on wine and is always looking to increase its market share.
"That makes soybeans the number one valued exported crop in the state", said Dan Keenan, owner of Keenan Farms and member of the Michigan Soybean Association. IN is the fifth leading pork producer in the country, so farmers here will feel the impact.
Seth Seifman of J.P. Morgan says the Chinese tariff on aircraft weighing between 15 and 45 tonnes is calibrated to send a political message without have a major impact on Boeing.
A pilot project announced in December that would allow China to accept Canadian chilled beef and pork provides another window of opportunity for Canadian producers, he added. Almost two-thirds of the soybeans grown in the USA go to China.
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