DES MOINES — Leaders of the Iowa Soybean Association are wrapping up a week-long trade mission in China.
Grant Kimberley, the association’s market development director, says the Chinese have a huge appetite for soybeans. Last year, Kimberley says total Chinese imports of soybeans hit a record 93-point-five-million metric tons, much of that coming from the United States. “That is 62.6% of the total world exports and it’s also 61% of the total U.S. soybean exports,” Kimberley says. “This trend is projected to continue and we expect to see soybean imports from China grow to 97-million metric tons by the end of the current marketing year.”
In the next marketing year, that’s projected to reach 100-million metric tons. Iowa Soybean Association C-E-O Kirk Leeds says there’s a lot of concern over possible retaliation by China in reaction to tariffs being sought by the Trump administration on steel and aluminum. Leeds says, “Most that we’ve talked to certainly are hopeful as we’ve remained hopeful that soybeans do not become the target the Chinese will use to retaliate, if they decide to retaliate, to whatever the administration may be announcing in the next couple of days.”
The association’s president-elect, Lindsay Greiner, a farmer from Keota, says both Chinese and U-S officials want a positive resolution. “The Chinese are very interested in sitting down and talking about these trade issues and getting them resolved,” Greiner says. “I hope the U.S. is as committed. I think that in a negotiation, at least I’m hopeful, that both sides start out on opposite ends and work their way closer to the middle.”
Leeds says both countries have legitimate concerns over trade and it’s in everyone’s best interests to sit down, reasonably discuss those and come to a positive conclusion.