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VOL. 43 | NO. 5 | Friday, February 1, 2019

A hill of beans: Soybeans upstage trade talks

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Soybeans, which account for less than 1 percent of U.S. exports, are upstaging weightier issues as the Trump administration tackles trade disputes with China and other countries.

The outsize importance of soybeans — mostly used as animal feed but also consumed by humans in everything from General Tso's Tofu to soy lattes — was apparent recently in two days of U.S.-China trade talks.

The world's two biggest economies didn't make much progress in their dispute over China's aggressive technology policies.

But they did agree on one thing: China said that it would buy 5 million metric tons of American soybeans over an unspecified period.

Critics worry that focusing on getting foreigners to buy U.S. goods is a distraction from the pressuring them to make deeper economic reforms.

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