Farm Bureau Welcomes Phase One Agreement with China

Podcasts / Newsline December 17, 2019

Credit: United Soybean Board / CC BY 2.0 

A phase one agreement with China would reopen a marketplace for U.S. agriculture. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: An interim trade deal with China is a step towards a full agreement and normalized trade with China, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF economist Veronica Nigh is hopeful the phase one agreement leads to more agreement between U.S. and China.

Nigh: China and the U.S. agreed to an interim phase one deal. Ideally, this phase one agreement will be signed in mid-January, and then will be immediately followed by negotiations for a phase two, phase three, until all of the issues within reason are solved. 

Clements: Nigh says China has reportedly agreed to increase their purchase of U.S. agricultural products over a two year period, averaging between $40-50 billion annually. That compared to the $24 billion purchased in 2017, before the trade war started.

Nigh: Given that’s such a large expansion over where we were previously, the list of products and the variety of trade between China and the U.S. would have to expand pretty significantly. When you look at the total of what China is buying from the rest of the world, there’s probably room there.

Clements: Nigh says farmers need more trade opportunities, like the opportunities China represents.

Nigh: Before all of this trade situation really came to a head, China was our second-largest market. And, while we certainly are exporting a lot of U.S. ag products to a wide variety of countries, it takes a lot of those smaller countries to add up to one China. So, bringing China back as a sizable market for U.S. agriculture is certainly critical to U.S. farmers’ ability to continue to grow their businesses.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.

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