KELO-TV copies and pastes bits of a wire report saying the Chinese will buy “nearly all” of Iowa’s soybeans.
Well, sort of. Chinese buyers signed agreements in Des Moines Thursday to buy 460 million bushels of U.S. soybeans. That’s equivalent to 84% of Iowa’s 2016 soybean production. The purchase is not for Iowa soybeans specifically; the story could just as easily have said China is buying all of South Dakota’s and North Dakota’s soybeans and 17% of Minnesota’s, or, more accurately, 11% of U.S. production in 2016. Thursday’s ceremony didn’t involve actually transferring money or beans; traders call the commitments “meaningless… window dressing… photos and shaking hands.”
And if the Trump Administration plows ahead with secondary sanctions against China for doing business with North Korea or decides to slap tariffs on Chinese steel, those promises could evaporate, and China could just focus on its efforts to acquire the technology and techniques to produce its own food.