A recent surge of demand has emptied some grocery store shelves of staples, as shoppers concerned about the spread of the novel coronavirus prepare to self-isolate at home. But the U.S. has plenty of food and Americans should not panic, urged food retailers, producers, and the federal government over the weekend.(No paywall)
With China confirming that it will sign a “phase one” trade agreement next week, President Trump said on Thursday that the pact, which will include China buying up to $50 billion a year in U.S. farm exports, “is pretty much all for the farmers.” At the same time, the outlook darkened for final congressional approval of the USMCA next week.
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.
President Trump announced a $16-billion aid package on Thursday to buffer the impact of the trade war on farmers and ranchers this year. Speaking separately to reporters, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said billions of dollars of additional aid may flow in the future.
In a letter read aloud at the White House, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing will buy more U.S. farm exports, a decision that President Trump hailed on Thursday as a sign of good faith in ongoing negotiations to end the trade war between the nations.
Farm bill negotiators are divided over the House Republican proposal for stronger work requirements for food stamp recipients, said Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts on Thursday, acknowledging that Congress may miss an informal Sept. 30 deadline for passing the bill.
Farmers are worried about foreign retaliation to U.S. trade sanctions, said the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, suggesting that Congress may have to create a “special payment due to retaliation.”
With President Trump ready to impose trade sanctions on China for hijacking U.S. technology, his chief agricultural negotiator told a farm conference that the administration is defending agriculture, too.