Illinois may suffer in US-China trade war; soybeans, Boeing could be hurt

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Illinois is the top soybean producer in the United States, which means the state stands to take an economic hit in the trade war President Donald Trump has started with China. | Associated Press file photo

WASHINGTON — Illinois is the nation’s largest soybean producing state. Boeing is headquartered in Chicago.

And both the farming and aircraft sectors of the economy are in line for hits, with the markets plunging Wednesday morning in the wake of an escalating trade war between the United States and China, triggered by President Donald Trump.

After the Trump administration socked China with tariffs on electronics and other products Tuesday, China smacked back, adding tariffs on 106 U.S. products including soybeans and some airplanes.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement: “Illinois’ farmers now join DACA recipients as the latest victims of President Trump’s temper. Illinois is our nation’s largest producer of soybeans and our state will feel China’s retaliation to threats of a trade war more than most. America cannot move forward in a blizzard of tweets and wild threats from this President.”


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Boeing stock dropped on Wednesday morning after the China move, which would include some the airplanes manufactured by Boeing and rebounded to end the trading day with the stock down 1.02 percent.

Boeing said in a statement, “Boeing is confident that dialogue continues. While both governments have outlined positions that could do harm to the global aerospace industry, neither has yet imposed these drastic measures. We will continue in our own efforts to proactively engage both governments and build on the recent assurances by U.S. and Chinese leaders that productive talks are ongoing. A strong and vibrant aerospace industry is important to the economic prosperity and national security of both countries.”

Soybeans are a crucial element to the Illinois farm economy.

GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, in his March 20 proclamation of National Agriculture Day in Illinois noted: “In 2017, Illinois had a record high corn yield and a three percent increase in soybean production from the previous year. Home to more than 72,000 farms, Illinois ranks first in soybean and pumpkin production, second in corn production, and fourth in pork production. Additionally, the state leads the nation in food processing sales.”

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