China's latest trade tariff threat could really hurt Minnesota

The Asian nation has released a list of more than 100 commodities it could tax.
Publish date:

What's happening?

China has made its latest threat in the trade standoff with the U.S.

On Wednesday, it retaliated to a list of trade tariffs on 1,300 Chinese products being considered by President Donald Trump with a list of its own.

Bloomberg reports China confirmed that it is planning a 25 percent import tax on 106 commodities from the U.S., though no date has been given for the tariffs to be implemented.

It's already imposed the 25 percent tax on imports including pork and scrap aluminum from the U.S., after the Trump Administration imposed its own 25 percent tariff on steel and aluminum from China.

Why could Minnesota be affected?

State farmers are already being hit by the tariff on pork products, with Minnesota one of the biggest pork producers in the country and the state exporting $717 million of pork to countries last year – China being one of the biggest customers, KSTP reports.

But now one of the commodities China is threatening to impose another tax on is soybeans, of which it is the largest importer in the world, using it for cooking oil and livestock feed.

And that's even worse news for Minnesota, which is the 4th largest agricultural export state in the U.S. and soybean its biggest export crop.

According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota farmers exported $2.1 billion of soybean in 2016 – 30 percent of its entire agricultural exports.

And its biggest customer? China, which accounted for $1.2 billion of those sales.

Should this trade tariff be imposed like China is threatening, it would confirm the worst fears of the state's agriculture industry.

There is a chance however that it could be an idle threat, with MDA chief economist Su Ye telling the Star Tribune in February that a soybean tax would hurt both countries given how much China is dependent on it.

Next Up