Progress Reported on Several Trade Fronts
There is trade talk movement on several fronts right now:
President Trump is reiterating that progress is being made toward a comprehensive trade deal with China. He is emphasizing that it will help farmers and ranchers. He talked about the negotiations during a roundtable discussion on the economy in Burnsville, Minnesota this week.
President Trump saying, “The farmers have not been treated well for fifteen years. You can go back and it’s just a graph downward. Well, we’re changing that. You wait and see what’s gonna happen, so we’ll see if it all works out with China, but we’re doing well in the negotiation. It’s very comprehensive in the sense that it’s a very complete negotiation. We’re talking about theft of intellectual property. We’re talking about so many other things, but we’re also talking about the farmers and the ranchers and people that have not been treated fairly by, really, the world.”
Reuters is reporting negotiations could include lifting a ban on U.S. poultry and buying more pork. However, it’s not likely to ease restrictions on the growth promotant ractopamine.
Iowa State agriculture economists say they expect China to import about $4.6 million tons of pork in 2020.
Negotiators for both the U.S. and Japan say they conducted talks this week in line with the agreement made between Japan’s Prime Minister and President Trump in September.
The week’s talks focused mostly on goods. The discussions between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japan’s Economy Minister were labeled as “good and frank”.
National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow was asked about the talks with the Japanese. Kudlow was asked by a reporter about whether the U.S. was looking at separate deals with the Japanese by breaking out agriculture as a temporary fix. Kudlow answered, “Ambassador Lighthizer is walking through that. They’re in the talks. The talks are thick and hot and heavy, and I think that’s terrific. Japan’s a great ally of ours. I don’t want to comment on outcomes or any details. I just think it’s always healthy when we’re talking.”
Japan’s Economic Minister said the discussions were focused on common ground to move the talks forward. Both sides are pledging to accelerate talks between the two nations.
Negotiators with the European Union have gotten approval to hold trade talks with the United States. E.U. Trade Chief Cecilia Malmström said this week she wants to finalize negotiations before the end of this European Commission, which is in office through October.
Two big hurdles stand in the way: a demand that any negotiation results in the U.S. dropping tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum last year, and that the talks include agriculture. The E.U. is adamant agriculture will not be part of the discussion. U.S. officials say it should.
President Trump also touched on that during his economic roundtable in Minnesota. “If you look at the European Union with the barriers they have to agricultural products and cars and so many other things, but the agricultural products, they barely take our agriculture products and yet they can sell Mercedes Benz and they can sell anything they want in our country, including their farm products, and it’s not fair,” said the President.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said this week it’s likely any deal is rejected by Congress if it doesn’t include agriculture.