The organization is concerned about how tariffs will impact soybean farmers
By Diego Flammini
America’s national soybean group wants to meet with the President’s to discuss his latest trade actions.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) is concerned President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will cause countries like China, the largest customer for U.S. soybeans, to retaliate with tariffs on soybeans.
China imported 1.4 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans in 2017, which equals about 61 percent of total soybean exports or one of every three rows planted, according to the ASA.
“We urge you to modify if not reverse your decision to avoid a trade war that could seriously undermine our industry,” John Heisdorffer, ASA president, said in a Mar. 12 letter addressed to the President. “The importance of the China market in sustaining our livelihoods and our industry’s role in the nation’s agricultural and rural economy cannot be overstated.
“Please consider meeting with us and other successful export-driven agricultural industries to discuss how we can work together to achieve our common goal of reducing our national trade imbalance.”
Ultimately, however, placing import tariffs on U.S. soybeans may prove unwise for the Chinese government, as they could result in higher production costs.
Chinese farmers produced 53.4 million tons of pork last year. The country used much of its U.S. soybean imports to feed its more than 430 million pigs.
“China is the number one consumer of pork and it uses its massive soybean haul to feed the world’s largest hog herd,” Karen Braun, a market analyst with Reuters, wrote yesterday. “Soybean meal is very high in protein relative to other animal feed ingredients such as DDGs (distillers dried grains) or sorghum, meaning that substitution would be nearly impossible.
“If Beijing were to impose any kind of tariffs on U.S. beans, it would simply raise costs for its domestic and end users.”
Farms.com has reached out to ASA to confirm if President Trump has received the letter and if a meeting will be scheduled.