Farmers are sitting on their checkbooks instead of buying new equipment because of the Sino-U.S. trade war and planting delays in the United States, said the chief executive of Deere and Co., the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer. Deere, which also makes construction and logging equipment, said overall sales fell 3 percent during May, June and July, led by a 6- percent drop in agriculture and turf, its largest division.
A day after President Trump scoffed at wheat exports to Japan — “They don’t even want our wheat,” he said — U.S. wheat growers called out the president for maligning an important trade relationship. It was one of the first times farmers have talked back to Trump since they helped elect him to office.
U.S. exports of hormone-free beef to Europe would triple under an agreement signed by President Trump and hailed by EU officials as a sign of tangible results for the strongest trade relationship in the world. Meanwhile, China said it “will have to take necessary counter-measures” if the United States expands the trade war on Sept. 1, as Trump says he plans to do.
A day after the White House reported constructive talks with China, President Trump expanded the Sino-U.S. trade war on Thursday, saying China wasn’t buying enough U.S. farm exports and Beijing wasn’t moving fast enough in negotiations.
During the second day of trade talks in Shanghai, Chinese officials “confirmed their commitment to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural exports,” said the White House on Wednesday. “The U.S. side agreed to create favorable conditions for it,” said a Chinese editor believed to have contacts in the government.
The largest U.S. farm group urged trade negotiators “to write the next chapter” in Sino-U.S. relations this week by eliminating trade war tariffs that are depressing ag exports, an important part of farm income. On Monday, the USDA reported an uptick in soybean exports to China, but there was no sign of large “goodwill” purchases on the eve of negotiations in Shanghai.
President Trump was ambivalent about this week's trade talks with China, saying "I don't know if they're going to make a deal," even as China hinted at goodwill purchases of U.S. farm exports. Meanwhile, the White House said China, the second-largest economy in the world, ought to shed its status at the WTO as a developing nation and to play by the same rules as the United States and other industrial nations.
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture purchased $18 million worth of U.S. wheat last week, days after announcing it would not interrupt imports because of the discovery of GMO wheat in a fallow field in Washington State. The Japan Agricultural Times reported the ministry said on July 17 that it had adopted a new inspection method so there was no need to suspend purchases.
The Trump administration will send more than $7 billion in trade war payments to farmers this summer, a total that could soar to more than $14 billion if the Sino-U.S. dispute persists into the winter, said officials on Thursday. For the second year, agriculture is the only sector of the U.S. economy to receive trade mitigation payments.