"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.