Fears of an expanded trade war with China are spreading across the farm economy after Beijing announced it might slap a 25 percent tariff on American soybeans and other farm products.
Affected agricultural products also include U.S. corn, beef, cotton, tobacco, sorghum and orange juice. However, China's Ministry of Commerce is targeting not only U.S. agriculture but other items such as automobiles on its wide-ranging list of more than 100 American products.
The move by Beijing on Wednesday came a day after the Trump administration proposed duties on more than 1,300 imported products in China's machinery, electronics, aerospace and robotics sectors.
"It's frustrating because agriculture has long been just a pawn in these trade wars," said Mark Kenney, who grows soybeans in central Iowa. "I'm concerned about it because China is a huge market for us."
The U.S. exports about $14 billion worth of soybeans to China, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. China buys roughly half of the U.S. soybean exports, and roughly one in three rows of soybeans grown on the nation's farms goes to the world's second-largest economy, according to the American Soybean Association. The