Trade Tensions Thaw Ahead Of October Meeting

Sep 13, 2019  | 3 min  | Ep4504

Many of the items moved into our internet shopping carts originate in China.

The trade spat between the two countries took a step back from the cliff this week. China signaled a return to moving more U.S. pork and soybeans through the checkout counter and vowed to lift punitive tariffs on the two products.

Paul Yeager reports. Producer Contact


Officially, China has stopped purchases of America’s agricultural products, but as the fields turn toward harvest, so did the story with the economic giant.

The Chinese began buying U.S. soybeans this week. The news came just hours after a report revealing July was good for domestic pork producers. The U.S. Meat Export Federation has reported, despite a 62 percent tariff on American made pork, Chinese imports of the protein were up 51 percent over a year earlier.

Late in the week, the U.S. and China pledged reductions or delays of tariffs on some goods caught in the Trade War, the exact concessions vary but all were made in good faith ahead of scheduled talks for next month.

Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary: "Well there's no question, the only reason why China is seriously negotiating with us is because of the tariffs. And this president is dealing with issues that should have been dealt with for the last 20 or 30 years. So tariffs do work. That's what brought them to the table. No different than sanctions work. And the president of course is a negotiator, so this this delay was a goodwill gesture and nothing more than that.”

As the president tweeted about the expectation China would be buying large amounts of agricultural products, the Treasury Secretary tempered enthusiasm.

Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary: “I spoke to the Chinese, I believe, about a week ago. There is a deputy level meeting that is set up I believe it's either next week or the following week. They're coming here. We expect they'll be active worked on. The ambassador and I have a date in the beginning of October. I think you know with some of the logistics issues. First, the ambassador is very focused on getting USMCA done now that Congress is back in session, so that's the number one priority. We have UNGA coming up. The ambassador is working on the Japanese deal, so it's really just logistics issues. My expectation is they'll be here in October unless something changes."

As Congress returned to Washington, farm-state lawmakers hoped USMCA would be one of the progress points as well.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R – Iowa: “Modernizing and improving our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico is a bipartisan no-brainer.”

Sen. Charles Grassley stayed on the message he delivered while touring Iowa during the legislative break.

Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador pledged support for passing USMCA and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is starting his reelection campaign by touting the benefits of working with the United States.

Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister: “We renegotiated NAFTA, securing trade access to our largest and most important trading partner at a time of U.S. protectionism and unpredictability.”

For Market to Market, I’m Paul Yeager. 

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