Over the weekend former Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei recommended tariffs on US soybeans.
On Friday's $3bn of tariffs, he wasn't impressed:
- "I think the measures taken by China's commerce ministry are relatively weak"
But, in order to take more commensurate steps with US restrictions:
- "If I were in the government, I would probably hit soybeans first, then hit autos and airplanes. We cannot let other people profit at our expense."
Tariffs on US soybeans would be a big step from China. These would be a direct imposition on farming states and base support of President Trump.
Non-US soybean exports would be big beneficiaries.
China imports around 60% of soybeans traded worldwide. Brazil is a huge supplier to China, bigger than the US (Brazil accounts for more than 50% of China's soybean imports, US around 34%)
This wasn't the only response over the weekend.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu spoke (phone) with US Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin on Saturday, said China wants to maintain the stability of the China-US trade relationship but would take steps if necessary.
There will be more to come on this, stay tuned