With its new offer of $14 billion in coronavirus relief, the Trump administration could spend $50 billion — quadruple the cost of the auto industry bailout — in less than three years to buffer the impact of trade war and pandemic on agriculture. Farm groups welcomed the second round of coronavirus assistance while critics said it was "old-fashioned vote-buying" ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
China has "really stepped up" its purchases of U.S. farm exports in recent weeks, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday, and he is hopeful of the sales bonanza promised in the "phase one" agreement that de-escalated the Sino-US trade war. "They are saying... the right things about their desire to fulfill their commitment. I'm hopeful they will."
China is stepping up its purchases of U.S. farm exports, but it will not meet the ambitious sales goals of the "phase one" agreement that de-escalated the Sino-U.S. trade war, said USDA data on Wednesday. In a quarterly forecast, USDA analysts said China, the farm sector's No. 1 customer before the trade war, will remain locked in third place as an export destination in 2021, behind Canada and Mexico.
The EU will remove tariffs on imports of live lobsters and frozen lobster products from the United States under an agreement that calls for lower U.S. tariffs on a variety of European goods, including prepared meals. "These tariff reductions are the first U.S.-EU negotiated reductions in duties in more than two decades," said a joint statement by EU and U.S. trade officials.
The expected six-month review of the Sino-U.S. trade agreement failed to materialize on Saturday but President Trump expressed satisfaction with the increasing pace of farm export sales to China. During a news conference, Trump said, "China has been buying a lot of — a lot of things, and they're doing it to keep me happy but they're dreaming about Joe Biden."
China bought $188 million worth of U.S. soybeans on Monday, continuing a string of purchases that began last week, as the world's two largest economies approach a six-month review of the "phase one" agreement that de-escalated the trade war.
Apparently due to the pandemic, the United States was running its smallest agricultural trade balance at the nine-month mark in a fiscal year, $1.7 billion, since the turn of the century, according to USDA data. The sector ordinarily is a bright spot in U.S. trade data, with annual surpluses that can run into the tens of billions of dollars.
President Trump declared Sino-U.S. relations "severely damaged" and said he has "many other things in mind" beyond following up on the interim agreement that de-escalated the trade war between the world's two largest economies. Trump spoke dismissively of new negotiations with China on Friday, hours after exporters reported the largest sale of U.S. corn to China in 26 years.
President Trump told the USDA on Wednesday to provide trade war relief to U.S. lobster fishermen and producers and threatened retaliatory tariffs on seafood from China if Beijing fails to buy massive amounts of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood products this year.
When the Trump administration poured billions of dollars into rural America to mitigate the impact of trade war, "most of it bypassed the country's traditional small and medium-sized farms that were battered by the loss of their export market," said the CBS News program 60 Minutes on Sunday. It's just as likely big farmers will benefit in a big way when the USDA disburses $16 billion in coronavirus-relief cash to farmers and ranchers, said the program.