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US China trade war: Soybeans left rotting thanks to lack of storage



donald trump make farmers great again
farmers are struggling amid the global trade war. Here, US
President Donald Trump in Peosta, Iowa, in July

Scott Olson/Getty

  • American farmers are struggling to sell their products
    as tariffs introduced during the trade war between Washington
    and Beijing stifle demand.
  • In certain states, farmers are being forced into
    plowing their crops under — effectively burying them under soil
    in fields — as there is simply not enough storage room in
    storage facilities.
  • The problem is most acute for soybean farmers, as China
    generally buys around 60% of US soybeans, but purchases have
    basically stopped since tariffs began.

American farmers are struggling to find storage for crops that
would usually be sold overseas, with some being forced to leave
produce rotting in fields as a last resort, as the trade conflict
between the US and China continues.

Farmers in various US states, farmers are being forced into
plowing their crops under — effectively burying them under soil
in fields — as there is not enough storage room in storage
facilities, and they are unable to sell their products thanks to
Chinese tariffs,
Reuters reported on Wednesday

All grain depots and silos are almost completely full,
meaning farmers have to find their own storage solutions, or
allow their crops to rot. Neither option is particularly

The problem is most acute for soybean farmers. China is the
largest importer of soybeans in the world, but since the start of
the trade war it has slapped US soybeans with a 25%
tariff, and turned
to Brazil in an attempt to meet domestic demand

Chinese purchases generally make up around 60% of all US soybean
exports, but those exports have practically stopped since the
tariffs were introduced.

In Louisiana, as much as 15% of this year’s soybean crop has
been ploughed under, or is too damaged to sell,
according to data analyzed by Louisiana State University staff
and cited by Reuters.

Read more:
‘We will never have a deal’: China’s former top trade negotiator
warns Beijing is hurting itself in Trump tariff

xi trump point laugh
US and China’s trade war continues. Xi Jinping and Donald Trump
in Beijing in November 2017.


There is some good news for farmers, however. Firstly, the Trump
administration has started a programme of subsidies to try and
lessen the impact of his trade war on US agriculture.

In August,
the administration launched a $4.7 billion initial investment
 to help corn, cotton,
dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat farmers.

The program is slated to expand to as much as $12 billion.
But according to Reuters, less than $900 million has been paid
out so far.

On top of the subsidies,
tensions between the two sides appear to be waning
, with the
US signaling a more conciliatory stance when it comes to tariffs.
Trump has reportedly sidelined some of his most aggressively
anti-China team members, with Peter Navarro, an
uber-protectionist trade adviser, among those given a back seat.

The most significant sign that the US and China may actually come
to some agreement came last week after reports surfaced that
Beijing sent a letter to the Trump administration outlining
possible concessions.

So far, the US and China have traded tit-for-tat tariffs on goods
totalling $360 billion, with the US acting as the aggressor, and
Trump threatening numerous times to place tariffs on all US
imports from China, worth
about $500 billion

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