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What any American who eats should know about Trump’s trade fight for farmers


Terry Davidson, 41, of Harvard, Illinois, is a fifth-generation farmer, who describes himself as a Democrat among mostly Republicans. He expects to be farming long after the U.S.-China trade tariffs become a distant memory: "We've survived since the 1800s and we're still going.”

Count soybeans in the mix with steel, cars and microchips. This little legume bears the burden of a controversial point of contention in the escalating global trade spat: Are U.S. farmers — savvy in export rhetoric — really getting the raw deal that President Trump says they are? Or does their bigger concern lie with the future for aging trade pacts, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, or with the China-favorable Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (formerly known as the TPP) that leaves a solitary U.S. on the outside looking in? China slapped a 25% tariff on American soybeans just last week in retaliation for the Trump administration’s levies on Chinese-made goods, including technology. And it’s not over: the U.S. late Tuesday said it would assess 10% tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese goods.