In what may be an opening in the Sino-U.S. trade war, a group of Chinese officials will tour U.S. farms next week, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday.
Leaders of the National Pork Producers Council appealed to China to remove its 60 percent tariff on imports of U.S. pork so it can bring down the soaring price of pork for Chinese consumers.
Hours after complimenting China for waiving tariffs on some U.S. products, President Trump announced on Wednesday a two-week delay, until Oct. 15, of higher tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese-made goods. On social media, Trump called the delay “a gesture of good will.”
U.S. farm exports plunged by an abrupt 6 percent this year due to the Sino-U.S. trade war and a worldwide slowdown in economic growth, but they will rebound mildly in the year ahead, said the USDA on Thursday. However, the agency’s first forecast of exports in fiscal 2020 excluded the impact of a promised mutual escalation this fall of the trade war between China and the United States.
Exporters reported the sale of 10,200 tonnes of U.S. pork to China during the week ending Aug. 8, the same period that China said it was shutting off purchases of American ag exports.
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.
When China raised its tariff on U.S. pork in April 2018, it sent producers scrambling to replace the lost export sales. A year later, the scramble paid off, as U.S. producers replaced a big chunk of the lost sales by striking deals with smaller markets, according to an analysis by Reuters.
The World Pork Expo, which draws an international crowd annually to the largest hog-producing state in America, will not be held this June as a precaution against the spread of African swine fever, said its sponsor, the National Pork Producers Council, on Wednesday.
To speed approval of the successor to NAFTA, President Trump should remove tariffs on steel imported from Canada and Mexico, said Senate Finance Committee chairman Chuck Grassley on Monday.