Propelled by the global economic recovery from the pandemic, U.S. farm exports will set back-to-back sales records this fiscal year and in the new year beginning on Oct. 1, the government forecast on Thursday. China would account for $1 of every $5 in exports during the two-year span, with annual purchases running more than $10 billion above its previous record, set in 2014.
The Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, concluded in 1994, created tariff-rate quotas for agriculture with the expectation that they would be a stepping stone to freer trade. Instead, most of those TRQs are still in place and new WTO members have added 43 more, says a report by three USDA researchers.
World leaders must remain vigilant to keep food trade flowing during the pandemic and to continue using trade as a lever to improve farm income and productivity, said the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on Sunday. Speaking during the Group of 20 summit held online, director general Qu Dongyu said, "It is essential for the G20 to keep working on preventing this health crisis from becoming a global food crisis."
The world's grain reserves are large, with a bumper crop on the horizon, but the coronavirus pandemic has already inspired agricultural protectionism in a small number of countries, said analysts in a think tank paper this week. Separately, former Agriculture Undersecretary Catherine Woteki said protectionist policies could spark "food nationalism" at a time when trade could minimize food shortages. (No paywall)
Americans will eat more chicken, already their favorite meat, as stay-at-home orders have consumers shopping at the supermarket rather than going to restaurants, said ag lender CoBank on Thursday in assessing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on food producers and processors. (No paywall)
On Monday, the United States asked the World Trade Organization to swat down retaliatory duties levied by China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and Turkey on U.S. exports as a violation of WTO rules. The move is the latest in the tit-for-tat trade war that began in April.
Farmers are among President Trump's staunchest supporters, and they have a response to his threats to scrap NAFTA and rewrite other trade agreements: "Without those global markets, our already-depressed farm economy would go down even more," said Zippy Duvall, leader of the largest U.S. farm group. "Trade should not be a dirty word," Duvall told the estimated 7,000 attendees at American Farm Bureau Federation convention, where Trump is scheduled to speak this afternoon.
While in Hamburg, Germany, for the G20 summit, President Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, for the first time since the start of the American leader’s term. Nieto’s foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, predicted that NAFTA talks with begin August 16.
After meeting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Canada's foreign minister said her country "would respond appropriately" if the United States pushes for new tariffs on Canadian products as part of NAFTA negotiations, said Reuters. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could meet President Trump as early as next week; NAFTA would be a top issue.