As U.S. President Donald Trump continues to escalate the trade war he has been waging against China, one country stands to benefit: Russia. Because of Trump’s trade war, China has reduced soybean shipments from the United States by more than 80 percent, and is now being forced to turn to Russia.
Russian farmers are expected to reap a record 3.9 million tons of soybeans in the 2018-19 season, Bloomberg reports, and the country’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, told reporters in Beijing that the two countries are willing to work together closely, and develop logistics for trading soybeans, poultry, fish, rice, pork, and other agriculture products.
“Soybeans are in very big demand in China,” Medvedev said, adding that Russia stands to benefit from the trade war Trump continues to escalate with China since “a certain part of the soy market has been made available.”
“We agreed with the Chinese partners to hold a more active presence in this particular segment,” Medvedev concluded for the Chinese press.
For months, American farmers have been warning that they might get caught up in Trump’s trade wars, according to the Guardian. Marked by perfect weather, 2018 produced a record soybean crop in the American corn belt, but farmers remain skeptical since — thanks to Trump’s tariffs on China, and the trade wars he continues to wage against other countries — they have nowhere to sell it.
“What’s the plan? Pi*s off our biggest trade partners? Shout at them? I don’t know that’s the best way to get things done. Today things look better but who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. We could get screwed by some 6am tweet,” one farmer told the Guardian.
Amid trade tensions with various countries, Trump has consistently vowed that American farmers will be the “biggest beneficiary” of his economic nationalism, often bragging that his tariffs on Chinese and other imports, as well as his administration’s exiting from international trade deals, are doing wonders for the United States economy and American farmers and workers alike, according to reporting from The Hill.
Bloomberg notes that although Russia will likely replace some U.S. supplies of soybeans to China, Brazil is expected to sell 75 million tons of product this season. In the 2017-18 season, Brazil sold 76.2 million tons of soybeans, and the United States sold 58 million, but that may soon change.
President Trump has often cited America’s merchandise trade deficit with China as the main reason for tariffs and trade wars, but according to Fortune, his economic policies have actually made the deficit grow bigger.