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Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Soybeans farmers are seeking to save their trade relationship with China as President Trump's ongoing trade war threatens to dismantle the market, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Retaliatory Chinese tariffs on soybeans have sunk exports, chipping away at one of agriculture's most profitable products. In 2017 alone, the U.S. shipped $21 billion in soybeans abroad — tripling numbers from the past two decades. But in 2018, that number fell 74% by volume, leading to recent prices paid to U.S. farmers plummeting to a seven-year low.

What they're doing: Soybean interests are doing their best to maintain their existing relationships, the Journal notes.

  • The Soybean Export Council will host a trade exchange for Chinese customers in Illinois next month.
  • Jim Sutter, the chief of the council, also visited one of China's largest grain traders in April to discuss resuming relationships once the tariff situation ends.
  • Director of the American Soybean Association Joe Steinkamp recently met with Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Gregg Doud to discuss his worries about a thinning market burdening young farmers with difficult financial conditions.
  • Cargill Inc., a commodities company, spoke out against Trump's proposal to add tariffs to $300 billion worth of Chinese products in a June letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Where it stands: The administration earlier this year issued a second aid package worth $16 billion to affected farmers, while last year's announced package was worth $12 billion. Yet, the tariffs still remain as China begins to seek alternative suppliers and other soybean giants -- mainly Brazil -- creep in on the market.

Go deeper: Trump declares China trade truce

Go deeper

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Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

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Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.

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