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Trump reassures soybean farmers as they brace for trade war

President Trump reassured his farm voters in a pair of Wednesday tweets from Brussels, saying he is "fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and will win!"

"I am in Brussels, but always thinking about our farmers. Soy beans fell 50% from 2012 to my election. Farmers have done poorly for 15 years. Other countries’ trade barriers and tariffs have been destroying their businesses. I will open ... things up, better than ever before, but it can’t go too quickly. I am fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and will win!"
— President Trump

Why it matters: Economists predict that soybean farmers are going to be among those hit hardest by China's retaliatory tariffs in Trump's trade war.

Between the lines: Trump's right that the price of soybeans has been steadily falling since 2012. But inviting Chinese retaliation against soybeans is inciting fear among farmers who rely on China's massive market — which bought a third of American soybeans last year.

  • China is aware of the sensitive political impact of retaliating against soybean farmers. Soybean-producing counties voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016.

Be smart: China has a huge demand for U.S. soybeans — both for cooking oil and as animal feed — and won't be able to bolster its growing capabilities or find a new supplier anytime soon.