China is once again targeting farmers in America’s heartland by halting purchases of U.S. soybeans, according to a report from Bloomberg News.
China’s state-controlled soy buyers have halted new orders and do not expect to resume while the heightened trade dispute with the U.S. continues, the Bloomberg report said. The report cited anonymous people familiar with the matter.
Existing orders will not be affected, the report said.
The move was not unexpected. China has been looking for ways to retaliate against the U.S. after President Donald Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods in early May. China has also indicated that it could restrict exports of rare earth minerals that are widely used in U.S. high tech and defense products.
The Trump administration has announced a $16 billion aid program for American farmers hurt by China’s actions. Soybean exports to China fell 71 percent last year as the trade dispute heated up, a decline to $3.1 billion from about $12 billion in 2017, according to data from the Department of Agriculture.