Speaking to a farm conference, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said China's adherence to its commitment to buy mammoth quantities of U.S. farm exports will be a test of the Asian nation's place in global relations. While China has buoyed commodity prices with its purchases, it is not on track to meet the goal of importing $43.6 billion worth of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood products by the end of December.
Japanese beef producers will be hit the hardest by their nation's agreement to reduce tariffs on U.S. food and agriculture products, according to an estimate by the government in Tokyo. The package calls for Japan to reduce or eliminate tariffs on $7.4 billion worth of U.S. ag exports beginning on Jan. 1.
When President Trump meets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on Wednesday, it should be a red-letter day for Trump's policy of bilateral, rather than multi-nation, trade negotiations. The two leaders are expected to approve a deal on agricultural and digital trade. U.S. food and ag exports could rise as a result.
For Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer, the math is brutal in the U.S.-China tariff war: "You tax soybeans at 25 percent and you have serious damage to U.S. farmers." China, the No. 1 customer for U.S. farm exports, canceled purchases of nearly $140 million worth of U.S. soybeans just before the two countries imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on each other's products. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said on Sunday the Trump administration was working on "a number of new free-trade agreements," but China "will be a much longer haul."
When Japan and the United States begin a new round of trade talks, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, they should be in the format of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the free trade agreement that was the bête noire of President Trump’s campaign.
The farm bill was the missing topic during a 45-minute session recently with farmers in southwestern Missouri, recalls Sen. Roy Blunt. "The farm bill never came up." Instead, growers talked about threats to farm exports, over-regulation and the need for rural broadband. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says low commodity prices, the slump in farm income, attacks on corn ethanol and, most of all, anxiety about a possible trade war are the top concerns in farm country. No paywall
A growing number of farmers and rural advocates say President Trump's trade and rural infrastructure proposals would further damage the struggling farm economy, despite his vow to boost rural America through renewed investment.
The farm sector is “rightfully concerned” that President Trump’s plan for steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum could trigger retaliatory tariffs on U.S. ag exports, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Exports account for 20 percent of U.S. farm income.
A year to the day after President Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, the remaining 11 nations, which include Australia, Japan, Canada, and Mexico, completed a free trade agreement of their own.
Exports generate an important part of U.S. farm income, yet they are jeopardized by President Trump's decision to renegotiate NAFTA and his threats to cancel the U.S.-Korea trade pact, writes former agriculture secretary Dan Glickman in an essay in The Hill newspaper. "These two threats alone have serious potential implications for the health of American agriculture, which is so dependent on agriculture exports.
President Trump’s new threat to terminate NAFTA, made during a rally in Phoenix, is a negotiating tactic rather than a serious possibility, said Canadian and Mexican officials. “This was always a card we knew the president would likely play . . . it may have been a bit earlier than expected,” a Canadian official told Reuters.
For decades, the United States has been the world's largest agricultural exporter, but the title is becoming harder to maintain, says the Wall Street Journal. "America's share of global corn, soybean and wheat exports has shrunk by more than half since the mid-1970s," it says, pointing to USDA data, adding that soybeans "make up about 40 percent of world exports, down from more than 70 percent three decades ago."
American agriculture is "going through a rough patch right now," so the Senate Agriculture Committee "will move as quickly as possible in a bipartisan fashion ... to get the governor down to the department," chairman Pat Roberts said, referring to the nominee for agriculture secretary, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. The committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.
The White House declared "a new era of U.S. trade policy in which the Trump administration will pursue bilateral trade opportunities with allies" following its withdrawal from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. Farm groups, whose members voted by a landslide for President Donald Trump, called for protection against loss of farm exports due to the change in focus.
President Donald Trump plans to meet the leaders of Canada and Mexico soon "to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration and on security at the border," reported Reuters. After China, the U.S. neighbors are the top markets for U.S. farm exports, forecast to buy 29 percent of ag exports and be the source of 44 percent of U.S. agricultural imports, so farm groups want to avoid adverse effects of reworked rules.
President-elect Donald Trump is getting a welcoming handshake from farm groups often identified with Democrats or populists, not just those touting free enterprise and low taxes. The National Farmers Union said in a letter to Trump that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, backed by many farm groups, is a threat to the rural economy, so "we hope to work with your administration on fair trade deals."
President-elect Donald Trump carried almost all of the farm states, from the Carolinas across the Midwest into the Plains, rolling up a 2-to-1 margin against Democrat Hillary Clinton with promises of lower taxes and less regulation. Farm groups, with a politically conservative membership, said they hoped to educate him on the importance of exports for farm prosperity.
Congressional leaders have said repeatedly that they won't call the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement for a vote in the post-election session, but farm groups are undeterred in pushing for action, said Feedstuffs. "The TPP has huge potential benefits for soybean farmers," said Richard Wilkins, president of the American Soybean Association, both in exports and in higher domestic demand for livestock feed to satisfy the growing foreign demand for meat.