The Michigan Soybean Association recently underscored the critical importance of trade with China, the leading buyer of U.S. soybeans, and urged leaders from both the U.S. and China to return to the negotiating table to resolve differences without escalating the current trade dispute. Overnight, China announced it will impose a 25 percent import tariff on U.S. soybeans.
“We are already in a deeply uncertain time in the agricultural economy, and soybean farmers are extremely concerned that the escalating conflict between the U.S. and China will cause further damage,” said Dave Williams, president of the Michigan Soybean Association. “The tariffs announced by China will lead to real money lost for farmers that they won’t be able to reinvest in their farms or spend at local equipment dealers, restaurants or movie theaters in rural communities throughout the nation. This situation is entirely preventable and must be resolved.”
Soybean futures were down nearly 40 cents a bushel in early hours of trading on Wednesday, April 4. At a projected 2018 crop of 4.3 billion bushels, American soybean farmers lost more than $1.7 billion in value to their crop during morning trading on April 4.
China imported $13.9 billion of U.S. soybeans in 2017, 60 percent of total U.S. soybean exports and nearly one out of every three rows of annual soy production.
“The U.S. government and U.S. farmers have partnered for decades and worked hard to establish foreign markets for U.S. soybeans, including in China,” said Kathy Maurer, international marketing director for the Michigan Soybean Association. “These tariffs put years of work to expand markets, as well as our livelihoods, in jeopardy. There are ways to counter China’s policies on intellectual property and information technology in a way that does not require the use of tariffs.”
Michigan is the number 12 soybean-producing state in the nation, with 2.3 million acres of production in 2017 that yielded more than 104 million bushels.