Gary Mason and his son, Chad Mason, harvest soybeans in a field they farm on New Burlington Road in Clinton County at twilight in this October 2017 photo. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Chinese tariffs strike at soybeans, a key Ohio crop

China is taking direct aim at U.S. soybeans, a key Ohio Crop, in a 25 percent tariff levied in a retaliatory strike against recent Trump administration tariffs.

Ohio ranks 6th in soybean production among the states, according to the Ohio Soybean Council, and the state’s soybean industry is valued at $2.6 billion. There are 26,000 soybean farmers in the Buckeye State.

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Jennifer Coleman, a spokeswoman for the Ohio council, said Wednesday morning her organization plans to put out a detailed statement on the tariffs in a couple of hours.

“I think farmers are very concerned, and that kind of sums up their reaction right now,” she said. “China is our No. 1 customer by far.”

“It should surprise no one that China immediately retaliated against our most important exports, including soybeans,” American Soybean Association President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer said in that organization’s statement. “We have been warning the administration and members of Congress that this would happen since the prospect for tariffs was raised. That unfortunately doesn’t lend any comfort to the hundreds of thousands of soybean farmers who will be affected by these tariffs.”

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The Chinese action came after the Trump administration announced an imposition of tariffs of 25 percent on Chinese products worth $50 billion, national media reported.

While the Trump plan would affect 1,300 categories of goods, China is targeting a narrower range of 106 types of U.S. goods, “many of them high-profile,” the Wall Street Journal said. Soybeans and smaller commercial passenger planes, mostly made by Boeing Co., are the most valuable U.S. exports to China, worth nearly $23 billion last year, the Journal said.

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