The American Soybean Association (ASA) responded forcefully to tariffs signed into action today by President Donald Trump, saying that the measures could likely lead to retaliation by affected countries and arguing that soybean exports are a prime target given their prominent role in U.S. agricultural trade. ASA President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer released the following statement this afternoon:
“These tariffs are a disastrous course of action from the White House. They may lead to retaliation by one or more of our valuable trading partners, which in turn will kneecap demand for soybeans in a time when the farm economy is struggling. We have heard directly from the Chinese that U.S. soybeans are prime targets for retaliation. The idea that we’re the only game in town, and these partners have no choice but to purchase from the U.S. is flatly wrong. Our competition in Brazil and Argentina is eager to capitalize on whatever openings these tariffs create for them in markets like China and elsewhere.
“Throughout this process, we’ve met with officials at Commerce, with Treasury, with USTR and with White House staff. It is unfortunate that our input was not taken into account given the announcement today. While we are deeply disappointed and concerned, we reaffirm our commitment to sit down with the president and communicate the importance of trade for soybean farmers. There is absolutely a way to encourage growth in domestic industry without cannibalizing the success of agricultural trade. With these tariffs, the administration has taken the opposite approach, and sacrificed the progress and potential of farmers.”