Soy Farmers Fear Negative Economic Impact of a Potential Trade War and Dangers of RetaliationWed, 21 Mar 2018 11:20:27 CDT
Agriculture, and soybeans in particular, depend on trade. Soybeans and soy products are America’s leading agricultural export with an export value of over $21 billion last year including crops produced in Oklahoma. Now, farm country is in danger of losing our most vital trading partner, China.
On March 8, 2018 President Trump imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion act of 1962 and soy growers in Oklahoma fear soybeans are a prime target for retaliation from China.
China is by far the world’s biggest importer of U.S. soybeans, importing $13.9 billion of U.S. soybeans in 2017, 60 percent of total exports. The U.S. government and farmers have worked together for decades to establish markets for U.S. soybeans in China and these steel tariffs put years of work in jeopardy.
We have heard in the past that China cannot retaliate on U.S. soybeans because they have nowhere else to purchase from, and that is simply false. Looking to bolster soy exports to China, Brazil exported almost 51 million tons of soybeans to China, compared to the U.S.’s exported 33 million tons in 2017. Additionally, Brazil is expanding its production area and upgrading its infrastructure to meet increasing Chinese demand.
Oklahoma soy growers depend on trade with China, and in a time when the farm economy is down 50 percent and crop prices are down 40 percent, we’re looking for ways to increase trade, not increase potential for a trade war. The Administration’s decision to place tariff’s on steel and aluminum imports is putting rural America, and growers at risk.
The danger of retaliation is too great to keep these tariffs in place. We must find a way to build up both the steel industry and the agriculture industry, not tear one down in lieu of the other. Rural America depends on it.
Source - Oklahoma Soybean Association
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