Bill Shipley, Iowa Soybean Association president, delivered the following speech at Governor Reynolds' press conference at the Iowa State Capitol on Tuesday this week. Shipley grows soybeans, corn and hay near Nodaway, Iowa.
"To say China matters to U.S. soybean farmers would be an understatement.
"China is the world’s largest consumer of soybeans. The United States supplies roughly 40 percent of China’s annual soybean imports, valued at almost $14 billion.
"That said, soybean farmers recognize there are legitimate trade issues that must be resolved between the two countries. They include intellectual property rights and requirements placed on U.S. companies wanting to do business in China. The ag industry acknowledges the importance of these matters and encourages their swift resolution.
"We believe this can be done absent targeting food and agricultural trade. Exports of U.S. soybeans, beef, pork and other commodities provides a trade surplus for our country. Encouraging more of it is advantageous for both countries. Agricultural trade boosts jobs and economic activity in America while reducing the economic trade imbalance existing between China and the U.S.
"China’s proposal to add tariffs on soybeans adds to the uncertainty U.S. farmers face as we prepare to head to the fields to plant another crop. Longer-term, we’re concerned about the establishment of anti-American sentiment in China. If allowed to take hold, it could jeopardize the ability of U.S. farmers to do business in China for generations.
"Trade wars involving food are a lose-lose. Here at home, Iowa soybean farmers would be negatively impacted by higher input costs and lower market prices. Chinese consumers would lose a reliable supplier and pay more for soybeans due to reduced competition.
"I invite President Donald Trump to my farm to see and experience soybean planting season in Iowa. He will meet the farmers who help create one of America’s most valuable exports, contributing to jobs and economic activity here at home and improved human health throughout the world, including China. It’s a discussion we welcome as we work to resolve this matter to the benefit of America and China.
"The Iowa Soybean Association urges U.S. and Chinese officials to pivot from the politics and posturing to resolving this escalating trade dispute for the benefit of American farmers and our Chinese customers."