If you live in Iowa you likely saw a four-page section in the Sunday Des Moines Register outlining how the current trade dispute is causing Chinese soybean buyers to turn to South America instead of the U.S. Labeled “paid for and prepared solely by China Daily, an official publication of the People’s Republic of China,” the special section appeared as an attempt to undermine President Trump’s support in farm country.
"I think it's trying to maximize pressure on the administration to change its trade policies toward China by attempting to show White House and Republicans that they're going to pay a price with the mid-terms," David Skidmore, a political science professor at Drake University told the Des Moines Register.
The focus of the special section is on soybean imports and features quotes from Davie Stephens of the American Soybean Association, including this one he recently released in a statement: “As the largest importer of U.S. soybeans, China is a vital and robust market we cannot afford to lose.”
This past Saturday, China called off planned trade talks with U.S. officials. This advertisement hit mailboxes the following morning.
The Star Tribune reports there’s “growing consensus in Beijing that substantive talks will be possible with the Trump administration only after the U.S. midterm elections in November.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping has a long history with Iowa. One of the stories in the special section highlights his “fun days in Iowa” during trips to the state in 1985 and 2012. It also includes a column called “Beijing can set an example for the world.”
According to the Des Moines Register, China Daily, government-backed English newspaper, buys inserts in U.S. newspapers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post fairly often.