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When Food & Agriculture Get Pulled Into Trade Wars

Touch the Soil News #1095 (Feature photo – Deforestation in Brazil – CCA 2.0 Generic) It’s no secret that American soybeans are at the center of the trade wars erupting this year between the U.S. and China. With China now looking elsewhere to buy soybeans, they are looking to go to South America in general and Brazil in specifics. Unfortunately, an increase in demand for soybeans from Brazil means that even more pressure is put on Brazil’s ecosystems – the slashing and burning of endangered forests and savannahs. Unfortunately, the agricultural footprint of humans is so large relative to the Earth’s land surface that trade wars can result in further…

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Trade Wars & Food Tremors – Lots of Questions

Touch the Soil News #1062 (Feature photo – Bulk Freighter – public domain) Now that there is open war over trade between the U.S. and China, the wars will be fought with monetary increases on goods that the citizens of both countries buy (the new tax). The billions in tax collections will be pocketed by both the American and Chinese governments. Amid lots of talk about earlier tax cuts, major indirect tax increases are in the works. One must ask, will the American government take the tariffs collected on Chinese goods coming in and share it with the American public who is paying the price and the farmers who lost…

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More on Trade Wars

Touch the Soil News #1046 (Feature photo – Container Ships at the heart of Global Trade – NOAA) In a press release dated 6/18/2018, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has stepped forward in response to the White House threats of adding tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods. NRF CEO Matthew Shay is asking Congress to intervene and exert authority on trade policy. The NRF sponsored a study earlier this year which found that tariffs of an additional $100 billion would result in the loss of 455,000 jobs. Using this math, tariffs on an additional $200 billion would result in the loss of almost 1 million jobs. What…

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Trade War Jitters

Touch the Soil News #1045 (Feature photo – International Trade – Public Domain) Unfortunately, adding tariffs to the cost of goods China imports from America and adding costs to the goods America imports from China, will hurt the less affluent in both countries – hurting people in both economies. One cause of trade imbalances is a strong American dollar. A strong dollar makes it difficult for other countries to buy what America has to sell because it makes American goods and services too expensive for poorer populations. Unfortunately, one of the largest forms of exports from American is agricultural goods. A drop in demand that Chinese tariffs on soybeans and…

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Why Soybeans Matter Today

Touch the Soil News #1017 (Feature photo – A Variety of Soybeans – USDA) Soybeans are the foundation of the world’s meats. Soybeans are used to feed poultry, pork, beef, and fish. As the U.S. prepares for a trade war with China, China is taking aim at America’s heartland where soybeans make or break American Agriculture. China consumes 1/3 of the world’s soybeans – most of which is imported from the U.S. and Brazil. The U.S. and Brazil produce 80 percent of the world’s soybeans. In short, a trade war with China could destabilize global supplies of soybeans undermining food security for literally billions of people. In a destabilized soybean…

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Turn Those Ships Around

Touch the Soil News #998 (Feature photo – A Bulk Ship Carrier – public domain) American Farmers are feeling the first real-pains from the unfolding U.S. trade war with China. China, the world’s largest importer of grain, just slapped retaliatory fees on sorghum grain headed from the U.S. to China. According to UkrAgroConsult. There are 20 ships carrying 1.2 million tons of U.S. sorghum (valued at $216 million) on the water headed to China. Of those, five have already stopped and turned around due to the recent Chinese import fees. You can read the full report here: http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/us-sorghum-armada-u-turns-at-sea-after-chinese-tariffs The problem with trade wars over food commodities is that the poorest…

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China / U.S. Food Tremors

Touch the Soil News #608 Hitting the Chinese political landscape is farmland. China is grappling with how much farmland they must have for primary crops. Land for primary crops (arable) does not include pasture for livestock that has limited food capacity. Today, China has about 329 million acres of primary crop land – about the same as the U.S. has. Trouble is, China has four times as many people to feed as does the U.S. China’s goal of permanently preserving a core amount of farmland equal to 300 million acres is important, but not enough. The U.S. is rattling sabers on implementing higher import fees on Chinese imports to the…

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Trade War With Mexico – Is It Good Business?

Touch the Soil News #603 (feature photo CC SA 3.0) In 2015, the U.S. imported $295 billion in products from Mexico. That same year, Mexico imported 267 billion in products from the USA. The U.S. presidential administration is touting that it is going to put a 20 percent import tax on stuff that comes from Mexico. So what if Mexico retaliates and puts a 20 percent tariff on goods coming from the USA? Does it make sense for Americans to pay an additional $59 billion on what it buys from Mexico? Does it make sense for Mexicans to pay an additional $53.4 billion on what it buys from the U.S.?…

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