China already eyeing U.S. farmers in possible tariffs retaliation

BEIJING, China -- President Trump is expected to announce new tariffs and penalties against China today. They reportedly could total as much as $60 billion. The president wants to lower the $375 billion U.S. trade deficit with China.

Mr. Trump is also looking to punish China for what he views as unfair trade practices including forcing American companies to hand over valuable technology and trade secrets to do business in China. If a trade war is brewing, China appears ready to fight back, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.

A video posted Thursday by Chinese media Global Times shows kids talking about a trade war with the U.S. "If they have an eye to us," one child says, "we will cut out that eye." When it comes to retaliation, China is already eyeing American farmers – perhaps hoping to hit Mr. Trump's rural base of voters in places like Iowa and Ohio. 


Grant Kimberley, a 6th generation Iowa farmer, is visiting Beijing to meet with Chinese buyers and processors of soybeans. One in every four rows of soybeans planted in Iowa ends up in China, and he wants to assure them U.S. soybeans are still a reliable source for China's needs. Overall U.S. soybean exports to China are worth $12.4 billion. Chinese tariffs on U.S. soybeans would make them more expensive which could cost U.S. farmers' business.

"China buys about 30 to 33 percent of all the soybeans we grow in the entire United States… so it's very important to have a strong relationship," Kimberley said.

But it's not just farmers. Major U.S. companies such as Boeing, Apple and Ford could be hit if China retaliates, and the cost of Chinese imports – electronics, toys, clothing – could get more expensive for American consumers.

"Given that the government here keeps saying we don't want a trade war, is there any chance they just let this go?" Tracy asked.

"I don't think they can let it go. Just looking at the domestic politics it will be showing weakness to just let it go," said Tianjun Wu, Deputy Economist, China, at The Economist Intelligence Unit. "China will definitely want to retaliate somehow."

China could retaliate by making it harder for American companies to do business in the country. But the experts we have talked to say China is likely to avoid a full-fledged trade war, which would likely be very damaging not only to the U.S. but also to China's economy.