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First Steps in U.S., China Trade Talks, as Heavy Rain Delays China’s Corn Harvest

Wall Street Journal writer Yuka Hayashi reported late last week that, “The Biden administration kicked off its trade-policy engagement with China late Friday with a virtual meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

“In the meeting, Ms. Tai raised a range of concerns including what the U.S. says have been China’s ‘state-led, nonmarket policies and practices’ and its failure to live up to the commitments it made under the 2020 phase one trade pact signed with the Trump administration, according to senior administration officials.

“In a statement afterward, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the two sides acknowledged the importance of the bilateral trade relationship. The two sides also reviewed the progress made in implementing the phase one deal and agreed to consult on ‘certain outstanding issues,’ without providing details.”

The Journal article noted that, “The virtual meeting came days after Ms. Tai outlined the Biden administration’s agenda for trade regarding China, which largely builds on the strategies initiated by President Donald Trump to confront Beijing through a trade war.”

“The resumption of trade-policy discussions comes as the two nations prepare for a long-awaited virtual summit meeting between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. National security adviser Jake Sullivan met with a top Chinese diplomat in Zurich on Wednesday to prepare for the meeting, to be conducted in coming weeks,” the Journal article said.

Also Friday, Bloomberg writer Sarah McGregor reported that, “[Katherine Tai and Liu He] agreed ‘that the two sides would consult on certain outstanding issues,’ according to a White House account of the meeting. ‘In addition, Ambassador Tai emphasized U.S. concerns relating to China’s state-led, non-market policies and practices that harm American workers, farmers and businesses.’

“The vice premier Liu took up the issue of U.S. lifting additional tariffs and sanctions on China, according to a statement from the Chinese ministry of commerce on Saturday. Both sides confirmed economic and trade ties between the two nations should be strengthened, and agreed to resolve each other’s reasonable concerns through consultation, the ministry said.”

The Bloomberg article added that, “Friday’s meeting marks a step forward in the two countries’ relationship, after Sullivan and other U.S. officials sat down with [Chinese foreign policy adviser, Yang Jiechi] in Alaska earlier this year and publicly traded barbs over human rights issues.”

Meanwhile, Reuters writers Dominique Patton and Hallie Gu reported last week that,

Heavy rain across northern China this week has delayed the corn harvest, submerged fields in water and raised concerns about the quality of the crop in the world’s second largest producer, analysts and farmers said on Friday.

“China is expected to harvest one of its largest corn crops in years this season after tight supply last year pushed prices to record levels.

“But rare heavy rainfall earlier this week hit swathes of northern China just as the harvest was due to start, hampering gathering of the crop and drying of the grain.”

“Heavy rain hits China corn harvest, raises quality concerns,” by Dominique Patton and Hallie Gu. Reuters News (October 8, 2021).

The Reuters article indicated that, “‘Generally speaking it will still be a bumper harvest, but the rain affects the harvest pace and the quality. With too much rain, farmers can’t dry freshly harvested corn and it will cause high toxin levels,’ said Rosa Wang, analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co Ltd.

“Adding to the worries, a severe coal shortage has forced China to curb power supplies to industry recently, and may hinder the scope for large scale industrial crop drying in coming weeks.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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