Tag Archives: Trade

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday accused China of “letting us down” by not promptly buying more U.S. farm products.

“They have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would,” the president said on Twitter. “Hopefully, they will start soon.”

After meeting with President Xi Jinping late last month, Trump said China had agreed to buy more U.S. agricultural products as part of a cease-fire in the two countries’ trade war. The truce suspended U.S. plans to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods — action that would have extended the taxes to everything China ships to America.

The United States and China are sparring over the Trump administration’s allegations that Beijing is using predatory tactics — including stealing sensitive technology and forcing U.S. firms to hand over trade secrets — to try to supplant American technological supremacy.

Trump has imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports. Beijing has counterpunched by taxing $110 billion in U.S. goods, specifically targeting U.S. farm products produced by many Trump supporters in the U.S. heartland.

The administration has rolled out $27 billion in aid to farmers to ease the pain.

Trump and Xi agreed to restart negotiations that had broken down in May after 11 rounds of talks. So far, the two countries’ top envoys have spoken by phone but haven’t announced plans to resume face-to-face talks.

In addition to opposing sharp-elbowed Chinese tech policies, the United States wants Beijing to buy more U.S. products and to narrow America’s trade deficit with China — a record $381 billion last year.

Last month, a former Chinese diplomat, Zhao Weiping, told reporters in New York that the United States was asking “us to purchase more than we can buy.” He added, “You have to be realistic.”

Still, Larry Kudlow, director of Trump’s National Economic Council, said Thursday that “our side expects China very soon to start purchasing American agriculture commodities, crops, goods and services.”

Poland’s foreign minister says the country would like China to open up its market further to goods from Poland.

Jacek Czaputowicz spoke Monday following talks with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on intensifying political and business ties between the two nations.

Czaputowicz said the greatest challenge was balancing off the trade exchange and increasing Poland’s exports to China.

Of some $33 billion worth of Poland-China trade in 2018, Poland’s exports amounted to only $2.5 billion.

Poland is aspiring to be China’s key partner in Europe, as Beijing is developing its business ties across the world.

Czaputowicz and Wang also spoke on developing bilateral partnerships in transport, agriculture, tourism and finance.

Now that President Trump and Chinese President Jinping have agreed to a temporary trade truce, Trump says China has promised to buy large amounts of ag products from U.S. farmers.

A Politico report looked into what products that shopping list might include. Soybeans are likely to be on top of the list. Soybean farmers have been hit hardest by Trump’s trade war because China was once the top export market for U.S. soybeans. Beijing bought another 544,000 metric tons last week, its largest buy since March. Pork might be another key item on the list as pork producers have also been hit hard by the trade feuds, especially with China and Mexico.

As African Swine Fever continues to ravage China’s once-giant herds, Beijing could now turn to U.S. hog farmers to fill in the country’s appetite for protein. Politico also says that ethanol exports to China could potentially grow. That would help ease some pressure on corn growers and biofuel producers, a key constituency that’s complained the administration’s trade policies are harming demand for ethanol.

The only question is that China doesn’t maintain government reserves of ethanol and the tariffs are currently prohibitive. As of right now, there isn’t a lot of space for China to buy up huge amounts of the biofuel.

Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham weighed in on the truce struck over the weekend between the U.S. and China. Birmingham says the Australian government will be watching “very closely” to make sure the truce doesn’t put the squeeze on Australian ag exports.

The Guardian Dot Com says presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping reached a “ceasefire” in a conflict that continues to threaten global economic growth. One of the things Trump mentioned first after the ceasefire was announced over the weekend was that China had agreed to buy a “tremendous amount of food and agricultural products from American farmers.”

The Australian trade minister was in Osaka, Japan, for the G-20 and said the deal between Washington and Beijing must be compliant with World Trade Organization rules, allowing Australian farmers to compete with other exporters on fair terms. Birmingham said taking a “long-term perspective,” he felt it was good news that Trump and Xi appeared to be toning down the trade hostilities between the two countries. “However, we’ll be keeping an eye on the detail and monitoring the situation closely,” he said.

The U.S. and China have agreed to forgo the next round of tariffs that President Trump threatened to impose on $300 billion in Chinese goods.

That report comes from both Politico and the South China Morning Post. It comes ahead of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend at the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. One source tells the South China Morning Post that Trump’s decision to temporarily halt raising tariffs on more Chinese goods was President Xi’s price for agreeing to meet with him in Japan. It’s well known that agriculture has been one of the hardest-hit economic sectors by Trump’s trade dispute with China. Other countries have responded to American tariffs on imports by trying to exert pressure on a big part of the electorate that ultimately helped Trump win the presidency.

Also on the trade front, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer made a pre-Japan visit down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., this week to get some more face time with House Democrats before heading overseas for the G-20 gathering. Trump’s trade boss left Democrats feeling more optimistic about getting their concerns with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement resolved

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue acknowledged in an interview earlier this week that farmers are “casualties” in President Trump’s trade war with China.

Perdue told CNN he didn’t think a trade deal was likely this weekend when Trump and Chinese President Xi meet in Japan. He’s now hoping a deal can be reached by the end of this year. The administration has set aside aid money for farmers, who make up a key group of voters that pushed Trump over the top in the last presidential election.

However, they’ve been among the hardest-hit groups in the country by this trade dispute with China, once a top market for U.S. soybeans. “I think they are one of the casualties in the trade war, yes,” Perdue says. “We knew going in that when you throw a penalty flag on China, any retaliation would come right at the American farmer.” Perdue tells CNN that he’s told the president “you can’t pay the bills with patriotism,” adding that the president understands that.

That why Trump is trying to supplement the damage they’re facing from the trade disruption with market facilitation payments. The trade dispute escalated earlier this month after Washington and Beijing raised tariffs on each other’s goods. It’s left U.S. farmers sitting on record volumes of soybeans as China halted purchases.

President Donald Trump’s trade war seems to be pushing the rural economy closer and closer to a meltdown. Politico says economic challenges in agriculture are weighing heavier on banks that lend to farmers and ranchers.

Farmers are getting slammed on all sides by retaliatory tariffs, unusually bad weather, as well as a five-year drop in farm incomes. Even the African Swine Fever outbreak in China will affect U.S. farmers because it will put a big dent in the demand for American soybeans, even if the trade war with Beijing is finally resolved. Iowa corn and soybean farmer Grant Kimberly tells Politico that agriculture has seen more than its share of “black swans” in the past couple of years. “We’ve had bad weather, we’ve had African Swine Fever, and we’ve had trade wars,” he says. “I’d say this is pretty unprecedented territory.

We haven’t seen anything like this since the 1980s.” During the first quarter of 2019, the farm loan default rate hit the highest level it’s been at in seven years. One in five farm borrowers increased the amount of debt they carried over from 2018 to the first quarter of this year. Producers are estimated to hold approximately $427 billion in debt this year, the most since the 1980s farm crisis.

Japan is considering lifting an import ban on some chicken meat from Russia, with the two countries’ leaders expected to discuss the matter on the sidelines of this week’s Group of 20 summit, government sources said Monday.

Since 2005, Japan has been banning imports of raw chicken meat from Russia due to concerns about bird flu. According to the sources, Tokyo would lift the ban only for certain parts of the country proven to have a low risk of carrying the disease.

In May, Japan’s agriculture ministry asked an expert panel to discuss whether Tokyo should lift the ban, which would likely happen in 2020 at the earliest. Tula and Bryansk oblasts in western Russia are subject to possible removal from the import ban, the sources said.

The issue is part of a broader discussion on expanding trade in meat between the two countries.

The government’s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, told a press conference the same day the two countries were working on “a number of issues,” but declined to comment on whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin would reach any sort of agreement at their meeting in Osaka on Saturday.

As for expanding meat trade between the two countries, Japan plans to urge Russia to recognize more facilities in Japan dealing with exports to boost Russia-bound shipments of Japanese beef.

In turn, Japan will be open to discussions if Moscow requests Tokyo to increase authorized facilities in Russia that handle processed meat products bound for Japan, the sources said.

According to the farm ministry, Japan imported roughly 550,000 tons of chicken meat in the year through March, with some 70 percent coming from Brazil and 20 percent from Thailand.

Japan currently suspends imports of chicken meat from 57 countries and regions to prevent bird flu virus from entering the country, according to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.

Washington, D.C.- American Soybean Association (ASA) Board Member and Missouri farmer Ronnie Russell appeared Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, testifying on the impact of trade and tariffs on soybean producers and the larger agricultural economy.

“Soybean farmers like me are feeling the impacts of the tariff war, and they are unsure if they will be able to make it through another growing season,” Russell said. “Older farmers are considering retiring early to protect the equity they’ve built up in their farms, while younger producers are looking at finding other employment. We may also see the shuttering of more businesses in rural communities whose livelihoods depend on the health of the farm economy.”

The 25% retaliatory tariff imposed last July has all but halted shipments to China, which up until last year was the largest export destination for U.S. soybeans. In 2017, China purchased $14 billion worth of U.S. soybeans. Now, the tariff has caused immediate and severe damage to the price of U.S. soybeans, which fell from $10.89 to $8.68 per bushel last summer.

“Our finances are suffering and stress from months of living with the consequences of tariffs is mounting. Soybean growers need China’s tariff removed now,” Russell continued. “Long-term, what farmers and rural communities need is predictability and certainty, which only comes through maintaining and opening new markets where we can sell our products. While we are working hard to diversify and expand other market opportunities, the loss of the China market cannot be fully replaced.”

Russell concluded his remarks by calling on Congress to urge the Administration to conclude negotiations with China that include an immediate lifting of the soybean tariff. He also asked both Congress and the Administration to finalize and enact the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), to bring a sense of progress and stability back to U.S. soybean growers and rural America.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to ratify a new free trade agreement with the United States and Canada, making it the first of the three countries to gain legislative approval.

Mexico’s upper chamber voted 114 to four with three abstentions in favor of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which U.S. President Donald Trump had threatened to withdraw the United States from if Washington did not get a better deal.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a recorded message that the vote was “very good news.”

“It means foreign investment in Mexico, it means jobs in Mexico, it means guaranteeing trade of the merchandise that we produce in the United States,” he said.

The treaty does not need to be approved by Mexico’s lower house. It is still awaiting consideration by lawmakers in the United States and Canada, however.

“Congratulations to President Lopez Obrador — Mexico voted to ratify the USMCA today by a huge margin. Time for Congress to do the same here!” Trump tweeted.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement applauded Mexico’s ratification as “a crucial step forward.”

Ratification of the deal still faces some opposition in the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

The United States is by far Mexico’s biggest export market and its easy passage through the legislature had been expected. The approval came after Trump threatened to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods if López Obrador didn’t reduce the flow of U.S.-bound illegal immigration from Central America, a threat that was later suspended.

The USMCA was hammered out last year by delegations representing then-President Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, and then-President-elect López Obrador, of the left-leaning Morena, ensuring that both the outgoing and the incoming administrations were on board. López Obrador took office Dec. 1, a day after the agreement was signed.

Mexican lawmakers had already executed a series of labor reforms that the U.S. had demanded.

Mexico’s economy ministry said that with Senate approval “Mexico sends a clear message in favor of an open economy and of deepening its economic integration in the region.”

Mexico’s peso strengthened moderately against the dollar to 19.03 Wednesday, though the main factor was the U.S. Federal Reserve signaling that it was prepared to cut interest rates if needed to protect the U.S. economy, according to Gabriela Siller, economic analysis director at Banco BASE.

The United States buys about 80% of Mexican exports, some $358 billion worth last year. In the first quarter of 2019 the two countries did $203 billion in two-way trade, making Mexico the United States’ No. 1 commercial partner for the first time, ahead of Canada and China, according to the Mexican Economy Department.

Sen. Ricardo Monreal, leader of the governing party in the Senate, said the vote was “an important step to diminish the existing uncertainty for North American trade.”