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China is using a cartoon soybean to win over the public in the US-China trade war

Gina Heeb
Soybean farmer Illinois

Jim Young/Reuters

  • President Donald Trump has continued his threats to impose tariffs on all Chinese imports to the US.
  • China's government put out a video featuring a soybean, seemingly pushing against Trump's trade policies.
  • Follow soybean prices in real time here.

As American farmers start to wonder how much President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing could cost them, China’s government has a cartoon soybean ready to answer their questions.

State-owned China Global Television Network in July posted a video, first spotted by Reuters, seemingly designed to undermine support for Trump's trade policies. It points out the potential consequences trade escalations could have on American soybean exports, underscoring that China is the world's largest soy importer. 

"Hi, everybody. I am a soybean," the cartoon says in the video. "I may not look like much, but I am very important."

Ahead of the upcoming US midterm elections, the English-narrated video seems to have a certain audience in mind. Nine of the top 10 soybean-growing states in the US voted for Trump, it highlights. 

"Trump wants to win over more voters by starting a trade war," the cartoon says. "The funny thing is that those voters who think Trump rally behind his trade actions will be hurt by this conflict."

China on Friday said it would impose retaliatory tariffs on about $60 billion worth of US goods if the Trump administration continued to escalate a trade war between the two countries.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports to the US. Administration officials said last month it could raise the proposed tariff rate on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%. 

The administration imposed punitive duties on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports to the US in early July and said another $16 billion worth of electronics and plastics would be targeted after a public comment period. The move prompted Beijing to hit back with in-kind tariffs on American imports to China, including soybeans. 

Soybean prices have fallen nearly 20% since March, when the Trump administration first announced plans to penalize China for alleged intellectual property theft and what the president sees as unfair trade practices. 


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