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Propelled by U.S. Trade Talks, China Charts a Course to Soybean Security

MIN READJun 28, 2019 | 19:43 GMT

A U.S. farmer in Nebraska holds soybeans from a recent harvest on May 5, 2019.

Many soybean farmers in the United States have been hit hard by China's retaliatory tariffs amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

(JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Accounting for 60 percent of total global trade, China's soybean consumption has served to its benefit in certain scenarios, most evidently in its ongoing trade war with the United States. Today, Beijing makes up more than half of the United States' total soybean exports. Thus, any cuts to China's U.S. purchases would have a significant toll on U.S. farmers -- carrying with it potentially dire political consequences for U.S. President Donald Trump, who derives much of his support from rural America. But as much as China would like to continue wielding its soybean purchases as a bargaining chip, its trade disputes with Washington have also highlighted how that strategic weapon can just as easily become its Achilles heel, should Beijing become too dependent on any one food supplier -- especially one that's an adversary. This fear has spurred China in recent years to set out on a strategy to diversify its imports and "rejuvenate"...

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