President Donald Trump responded earlier this week by unveiling a list of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. The duties will not go into effect immediately but will undergo a two-month review process. China then hit back with its own threat of tariffs on $200 billion of U.S. goods.
Naig said that Iowa predominantly produces corn and soybean, so farmers can’t try to come up with a “plan B” by shifting production.
“They’ve spent a lot of time and energy to build this market, particularly China and soybean, and we’d like to see that effort pay dividends, not be wasted,” he said.
China buys about 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. Nearly $20 billion in U.S. agricultural exports went to China last year, with more than half of that amount coming from soybeans.
While producers are concerned about the “near-term turbulence” in the marketplace right now, Naig said there is also fear about destroying demand for their products around the world on a more permanent basis.
“Our message to the president is we can’t continue to bear the brunt of the retaliation and that our farmers really can’t afford to wait,” he said. “They are planning for a 2019 growing season and for making economic decisions that will impact them for years to come.”
He said the state doesn’t have any “current plans” to send a trade delegation to directly negotiate with China, but “we are always in contact with our customers around the world."