China's new list of tariffs on U.S. goods worries Minnesota farmers

Minnesota is caught in the thick of a back and forth battle over tariffs between the United States and China. 

President Donald Trump insists that the U.S. is not in a trade war with China, but Wednesday the Chinese issued a proposed list of U.S. goods that will see tariff hikes. 

In response to Trump’s tariff on imported steel and aluminum, Beijing announced Wednesday morning that they will impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods, including airplanes, cars, some chemicals, meats, fruits and whiskey. Soybeans were also added to the list, leaving many Minnesotans worried. 

Minnesota is the third largest producer of soybeans in the nation. The products could be subject to 25 percent tariffs, although China has not released an exact date when they would take effect. 

“For agriculture these could be devastating,” said Lynn Ketelsen, with the Linder Farm Network. “China is 60 percent of the world’s soybean imports and for us farmers, it’s a lot of money. So if this would happen, this would not be good news. Just the threat of it is not good news.” 

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association is frustrated with the potential tariffs. 

In a statement, the organization said it’s “expressing its extreme displeasure about the escalation of a trade war with the largest customer of U.S. soybeans.” 

They have also called on the White House to reconsider the tariffs that led to this retaliation. 

The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is also dismayed by the trade tensions with China. 

"With the current farm economic crisis, farmers can't afford a trade war," MFU President Gary Wertish said in a press release. "The tariff on soybeans increases the number of farmers being affected and has brought down commodity market prices even further. We urge the Trump administration to negotiate fair trade agreements that benefit family farmers as soon as possible to remove this uncertainty from the markets." 

The tariffs have not taken effect. Industry leaders have started urging politicians in both countries to work together and compromise.