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.
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.
U.S. farmers will harvest their smallest corn and soybean crops since 2013, but the trade war will constrain exports of America’s two major crops for the second year in a row, forecast the USDA on Monday. Soybeans would sell at the lowest average price at the farm gate in 13 years.
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.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration turned a weekend threat into a promise of sharply higher tariffs on Chinese products and Beijing declared it would take the “necessary countermeasures” — all on the day before ministerial-level talks to resolve the Sino-U.S. trade war were set to resume.
China will remain the world’s largest soybean importer in coming years even if the trade war with the United States is not settled, but it won’t be buying as much of the oilseed, said USDA analysts on Wednesday.
President Trump put his weight behind an announcement that China, amid negotiations to end the trade war, committed to buy 10 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans. The decision, announced on social media by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday, would more than double Chinese purchases this marketing year but still