U.S. soy growers have voiced their deep concern and opposition to the Trump administration's tariffs on imports from their largest trading partner China, fearing the unilateral move could cost their livelihoods.
President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to 60 billion U.S. dollars of imports from China, a move that will undoubtedly draw retaliation from China.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) immediately issued a statement, describing the move "extremely frustrating" when farm incomes were already down nearly 50 percent from 2013.
"Multiple reports indicate the Chinese have U.S. soybeans squarely in their sights for retaliation, and this decision places soybean farmers across the country in financial danger," said ASA President John Heisdorffer in the statement.
"There is a real struggle in agriculture to keep everything going right now," he added. "It's extremely frustrating to have the administration taking aim at our largest trading partner."
The ASA reiterated its "significant concern" about the potential for China to retaliate against U.S. soybeans as China is the largest purchaser of U.S. soybeans, consuming nearly a third of U.S. production worth 14 billion dollars annually.
Meanwhile, Heisdorffer pointed out that American agriculture has "tremendous potential" to improve the trade balance with China.
"Soybeans can lead this growth in China, which is projected to significantly increase soybean imports over the next ten years. We should be talking about actions that grow this important market, not risk losing it," said Heisdorffer.