China is buying more U.S. soybeans in another sign the trade fight between the two economic powerhouses could be easing. Both countries acknowledge that they are talking trade as a U.S. delegation heads to Beijing next week. American Farm Bureau trade advisor Dave Salmonsen said a pause in new U.S. tariffs during negotiations is another positive sign.
“That was supposed to happen January 1st, that was changed to March 2nd, be the end of this 90-day period, but that keeps the pressure on. That tariff increase hasn’t gone away, just been postponed, so that’s still there. Of course, China, as far as we know, hasn’t changed any of their tariffs. And, of course, we’re looking to see how much more buying China will do, of U.S. product, especially soybeans.”
Last month China purchased roughly three million metric tons of U.S. beans which is good for the overall American farm economy. But Salmonsen was quick to note the U.S. government shutdown will hamper data reports going forward.
“We’re wondering if we’re going to see those usual market reports that USDA does, they report all these export sales over 100,000 tons, so, you get an idea of what’s going on in the market, we don’t know if we’re going to see those continue with the shutdown.”
Salmonsen said much remains in the air for producers as well, with FSA offices closed since December 28th. But Salmonsen said there is reason for optimism. President Trump said at a Wednesday Cabinet meeting that trade talks with China are “coming along very well.”
A key question for Trump and others, though, is whether Beijing will agree to structural reforms in the trade relationship.
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