Local farmers could feel effects of China tariffs

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - China is responding to President Trump's proposed tariffs with threats of its own.

The country wants to levy a 25 percent tariff on more than 100 U.S. goods, including soybeans, corn and beef.

It is important to remember for now, these are only proposed tariffs, but China is proposing $50 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods. The country is the largest importer of soybeans in the world.

But is it likely this will happen? Experts say probably not.

"We feared all along that the retaliatory action taken as a result of his tariffs would be taken against agriculture," South Dakota Sen. John Thune said.

Thune was in Sioux Falls Thursday to speak to local producers about the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill, but the proposed tariffs were on everyone's minds too.

"I'm hoping that over the course of the next 60 days we'll be able to negotiate an agreement, with China in particular in this case, that would get everybody to sort of, back off a little bit," he said.

The tariffs could create a major impact for soybean, corn, wheat, sorghum and beef producers.

On Wednesday when China announced its proposal, the soybean markets dropped 40 cents a bushel.

"If you take 40 cents off of the market based on how many bushels we produce, that's $1.7 billion just in the talk of a tariff," American Soybean Association Farmer-Director Kevin Scott said.

China imports 25 percent of its soybeans from the U.S., roughly half what the country produces. The current market price locally is about $9-$50 a bushel, but a tariff could threaten a price that is already about a dollar lower than the national average.

"A 10 percent disruption in the market for a 600 acre soybean farmer would be about $40,000," Scott said.

Thune said he has already made it loud and clear to the president that this is not going to fly.

"They need to understand the potentially unintended consequences, but there is always a ripple effect, and I think that the president and his team need to go in with clear eyes if they're gonna go down this path and realize the potential harmful and adverse economic it would have on states like South Dakota," he said.

There is a public comment period set for next month. Scott said anyone can call the American Soybean Association at 202-969-8900 with concerns about the impact of tariffs.