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Following reports on Feb. 16 from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that the department will recommend tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as a result of its ongoing investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, soybean farmers have voiced their concern about the potential for retaliation against U.S. soybean imports by the Chinese.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) has repeatedly noted the potential for retaliation by China, which purchases approximately one third of the soybeans grown in the United States at a value of more than $14 billion.

Today’s news from the Commerce Department is very concerning for soybean farmers. China is not only our largest customer, it purchases more than all our other customers combined. said ASA President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer. "Add to that the sobering fact that our capable competitors in Brazil and Argentina are all too happy to pick up whatever slack we leave in supplying the Chinese market, and these potential tariffs have the potential to make life very hard for soybean farmers.

In earlier conversations about potential tariffs under Section 232, Heisforffer said the Chinese specifically identified U.S. soybeans as a target for retaliation, and the barriers that retaliation would create will add significant further injury to an already-hobbled farm economy.

"Prices are down 40 percent and farm income is down 50 percent, and we simply can’t afford for those numbers to get worse," he said. "Soybean farmers look to the White House to move forward with a China strategy that strengthens the competitiveness of our domestic industries while at the same time growing our export opportunities.”

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