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Cargill CEO on U.S.-China trade spat: I’m worried about the American farmer

Scott Gamm
Farmers are struggling to figure out what to do with the record soybean crop for which they have fewer customers willing to buy due to the ongoing tariff dispute. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The CEO of agriculture company Cargill is worried about what U.S.-China trade tensions mean for the American farmer.

“We’ve had to shift supply chains from North America to South America,” said Dave MacLennan in an interview with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “As of a several months ago, China stopped buying, what at the time was 30 million metric tons of soybeans. Now some of that flow has resumed with this 90-day cooling off period, but it means more soybeans have come out of Brazil and Argentina so we’re very concerned about the impact of the American farmer.”

The 90-day cooling off period refers to the Trump administration’s plan to pause previously scheduled tariff increases on various goods coming from China in an effort to continue trade negotiations.

“We don’t think food should be used as part of the political process,” he added.

Cargill is the largest privately-held U.S. company, with over $100 billion in annual revenue.

Aside from the uncertainty surrounding trade, MacLennan feels good about the global economy, and Cargill has doubled its presence in China in the last seven years.

Scott Gamm is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @ScottGamm .

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