Asia is brimming with opportunities to win lifelong consumers of U.S. food and ag exports, said President Biden’s nominee for USDA undersecretary for trade on Thursday. At a Senate nomination hearing, Alexis Taylor said her priorities would be opening foreign markets to U.S. goods and the diligent enforcement of the rules governing trade agreements.
Accusing Canada of backsliding on its commitments, the United States requested consultations on Wednesday with its northern neighbor over dairy import quotas that limit American access to the Canadian market. U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai said Canada has expanded its restrictions despite being the loser in a USMCA trade ruling.
In the first decision under the new North America trade pact, a three-judge dispute settlement panel ruled that Canada had manipulated its tariff-rate quotas to limit imports of U.S. dairy products, despite agreeing to greater U.S. access in the 2020 agreement. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the ruling was a signal of U.S. resolve against unjustified trade restrictions anywhere.
Ag exports, a key part of U.S. farm revenue, are expected to generate 36 cents of every $1 in cash income this year, thanks to high commodity prices as the world recovers its appetite and the pandemic recedes. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the country ought to diversify its sales to a broader range of markets.
The Biden administration elevated a long-simmering dispute over Canadian dairy quotas on Tuesday by calling for a three-judge panel to decide the matter under USMCA rules. It was the first time that a dispute settlement panel was invoked under the trade agreement that took effect last July 1.
Trade ministers from Canada, Mexico and the United States are scheduled to confer digitally on Monday and Tuesday in the first meeting of the USMCA's Fair Trade Commission, with dairy expected to be the hot topic. U.S. dairy groups called on Sunday for the Biden administration to escalate an ongoing complaint against Canadian dairy quotas unless this week's meeting produces results.
The Trump administration said it was challenging Canadian quotas on dairy imports as unfair to U.S. milk producers. The challenge, announced on Wednesday, was the first under the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement.
The Trump administration "lost the trade war" with China, said Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, on Wednesday during a debate with Vice President Mike Pence, who faulted her for voting against the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It was the first time agriculture was mentioned in the pre-election debates.
In a speech at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, Vice President Mike Pence pointed on Thursday to China's promises to roughly double its purchases of U.S. farm exports as evidence that there is "no greater fighter on trade than President Donald Trump." The pledge was part of the "phase one" agreement that de-escalated the Sino-U.S. trade war and is scheduled for a six-month review by the two nations this weekend.
During her time in the Senate, California's Kamala Harris, named Tuesday to be Joe Biden's running mate in this fall's presidential election, has been active on a number of farm and ag issues, including creating a path to citizenship for farmworkers. She has also been an advocate of aggressive action on climate change.
China is closer than commonly realized to fulfilling its commitment to buy vast amounts of U.S. food and ag products this year, said U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday, rebutting criticism that the "phase one" trade agreement is faltering. "If you had to bet right now, you'd say they're going to do it."
Farmers are optimistic about the resumption of trade with China and, as a result, fewer of them believe the Trump administration will send trade war payments to producers this year, said a Purdue University poll on Tuesday. Fewer than half of the producers contacted by the Ag Economy Barometer said they anticipated payments this year, compared to nearly six out of 10 last fall.
The chairman of the Farm Credit Administration appealed for Farm Belt patience on Trump trade agreements on Wednesday. "The groundwork has been laid for trade normalization and improved farm prices," said Glen Smith during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
President Trump led a 37-minute celebration of the new NAFTA on Wednesday, signing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on the White House lawn during a ceremony packed with laudatory descriptions of the “very, very special” tri-national free trade agreement.
As President Trump scored his second trade victory in two days, Senate approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, he asked farmers on Thursday to remember the billions of dollars they had received in trade war payments.
In a sudden legislative speed-up, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday the Senate will pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement before the end of this week, a trade victory for President Trump days before an impeachment trial begins. The “new NAFTA” would bring modest …
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.
The Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved one of President Trump’s top priorities, an updated free trade pact with Canada and Mexico, on Tuesday with Democrats claiming a share of the credit in a trade victory for the president. U.S. agriculture would see modest increases in exports …
With the "new NAFTA" nearing a House vote, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer assured Mexico that disputes over labor provisions of the trade agreement will be resolved by independent panels. Mexico was suspicious that a U.S. proposal to post five Labor Department attaches in Mexico City was an underhanded way of bringing foreign labor inspectors into the country.