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

Kyodo News via Getty ImagesUS President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping at their joint press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
  • President Donald Trump is 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.

How much could President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing cost American farmers? China’s government has a cartoon soybean ready to bruit.

State-owned China Global Television Network on Friday 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, 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 election, 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.”

Trump reiterated threats to impose tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports to the US in a CNBC interview broadcasted on Friday. In response to a question about whether he would ever impose tariffs on $US500 billion worth of Chinese goods, he said he’s “ready to go to 500.” The US imported about $US505 billion worth of goods from China last year.

The Trump administration imposed punitive duties on $US34 billion worth of Chinese imports to the US in early July and said another $US16 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 penalise China for alleged intellectual property theft and what the president sees as unfair trade practices.

For more on the trade war, tune in to this week’s podcast featuring Westpac head of global markets strategy Robert Rennie below:

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