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Bracing for Impact of Chinese Tariffs

American Soybean Association
from the American Soybean Association
Credit American Soybean Association

Now that the US has imposed tariffs on many Chinese products, China has retaliated with a 25 per cent tariff on American soybeans. And that has farmers and local officials worried, especially along the Mississippi River where 5 of the top ten soybean producing states are located.

The mayor of Davenport, Frank Klipsch, says this is not an urban or rural issue - it's an "everybody issue."

"The bottom line here is that we can all probably be in favor of better trade relationships. But the scorched earth approach of using trade war to accomplish that is going to exact a pretty high cost."

China is the most important international customer for US soybeans - buying 27 million tons last year, or nearly one-third of the total US crop. 

John Heisdorffer grows soybeans in Keota, Iowa, and is president of the American Soybean Association. He says it's taken 40 years to develop the export market with China.

"We've put all those dollars into this, and to have this market possibly disappear, or at least part of it disappear, is really alarming to me."

They were among the many participants Friday morning in a conference call with reporters, organized by the soybean association and the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative - a group of 85 mayors representing cities from Minnesota to Louisiana. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.