A group of U.S. soybean farmers were in China last week promoting the benefits of biotechnology to the Chinese, but the subject of trade kept getting in the way. The purpose of the trip was to press China to speed up approval and acceptance of biotechnology traits in soybeans, but the current war of words over trade clouded the discussions.
Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council stated, “It was the elephant in the room. We kept trying to stay away from the topic, but kept getting questions about trade tariffs.” He said the delegation focused on maintaining strong relations between U.S. soybean growers and China during these difficult times, “U.S. Soybean farmers have been building relationships with the Chinese for over 30 years. They want to buy our soybeans and we want to sell them our soybeans. We are just hoping these relationships can withstand the current difficult times.”
Sutter hopes that soybeans can be a solution rather than a victim of the current retaliation being considered by China, “We think that soybeans can be a solution to the trade imbalance between China and the U.S.” He hopes both Beijing and Washington will keep this in mind as they work on a negotiated resolution to the current situation.
ASA Director Monty Peterson said the current oversupply of soybeans worldwide allows China to be more aggressive in its trade policy. He added, if there was a smaller world supply of soybeans, Beijing would not be so quick to threaten retaliation.