Trade Update: NAFTA, China

Anthony Harrup, Robbie Whelan and Paul Vieira reported on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal that, "President Donald Trump’s plans to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement this year looked unattainable Tuesday after negotiators appeared too far apart to strike a deal before a deadline this week."
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USDA Trade Data Update, and China Trade Dispute Weighs on Exports

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released updated agricultural trade data for the first half of this fiscal year (October - March).  Meanwhile, President Trump sent members of his senior economic team to China for trade negotiations, but those talks ended Friday, "with no deal and no date set for further talks."  Since April, China has canceled and curtailed purchases of key Corn Belt commodities.  Today's update highlights recent news items that explore these developments in greater detail.
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U.S., China Trade Issues: Sorghum, Soybeans

In addition to the concern expressed last week by Senate Agriculture Committee members to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue regarding executive branch trade actions, recent news items continue to highlight the implications of ongoing trade disputes between the U.S. and China, particularly as it relates to sorghum and soybeans.
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Secretary Perdue Discusses the State of Rural America at Senate Ag Committee Hearing- Focus on Trade, RFS

On the one-year anniversary of being confirmed by the Senate as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue delivered testimony on Tuesday to the Senate Agriculture Committee at a hearing titled, "The State of Rural America."  Sec. Perdue was quizzed by Senators about a variety of issues, including trade and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
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Federal Assistance for Farm Trade Impacts

On Monday, President Trump noted that ongoing trade turbulence with China could adversely impact U.S. agricultural producers already hampered by a sluggish U.S. farm economy.  The President has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for options to assist farmers negatively impacted by the recent trade developments.  Meanwhile, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue faced questions from farm state lawmakers about trade issues, and potential responses, at a Senate hearing on Wednesday morning.
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U.S.-China Ratchet Up Tariff Threats- Trump Instructs Perdue to Implement Plan to Protect Farmers

Today's update includes a brief explanation of recent trade tariff action taken by the U.S. and China.  The trade uncertainty unfolds as agricultural producers anticipate another year of stagnant farm income, and while robust production of corn and soybeans in recent years has made exports an important component of demand.  Overall, USDA has noted that agricultural exports account for 20 percent of U.S. farm income.  Meanwhile, President Trump has instructed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to "implement a plan to protect our farmers and agricultural interests" as the trade tussle continues.
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In Ongoing Trade Dispute, China Targets U.S. Soybeans

Since withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first working day in office, and formally opening the North American Free Trade Agreement to the renegotiation process, President Trump's rhetoric on trade has perhaps caused more anxiety among agricultural producers than actual executive branch action.  However, implementation of concrete trade policy from the Administration began to emerge in January of this year when the U.S. slapped tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines.
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