While it doesn’t make national news the trade war with China has begun with farm commodities. As in the past, agriculture will bear the brunt of political wrangling over trade. History shows that other countries, like Brazil, can and will step up to fill the gap. This means long-term downsides for American farmers as other countries use the opportunity to build their productive capacity.
As we head into 2018, one of the news stories gaining momentum is the approach of an impending trade war with China. The threat has been long anticipated as President Donald Trump made it clear during his campaign that he would get tough with China on trade policies, at one time vowing to name China a currency manipulator.
As president, Trump backed down from the manipulation charge, but according to CNBC.com, “The U.S. Department of Commerce (is) on the cusp of deciding whether to place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports” (“Cramer: The US-China ‘trade war’ could explode in 2018″ by Elizabeth Gurdus, Jan. 4, 2018 at: http://cnb.cx/….)
In August, the U.S. began an investigation to determine if China is violating intellectual property rights. In response, AP News reported last week that “China warned Washington on Thursday it will ‘resolutely safeguard’ its interests ahead of a possible decision in an investigation into whether Beijing improperly pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.” (“China warns Trump ahead of possible trade decision” by Joe MacDonald, AP Business Writer, Jan. 11, 2017.)
While the looming trade war has not yet been officially declared, there is good reason to believe China has already started taking hostile steps against U.S. soybean growers. On Dec. 20, 2017, Bloomberg news reported that USDA agreed with a request from China to impose stricter standards on U.S. soybean shipments to China. The article also explained that the requirements are not applied to soybeans from Brazil. (“U.S. to Tighten Standard for Soy Shipped to China, USDA Says” with assistance by Alan Bjerga, Shuping Niu, and Jeff Wilson, Dec. 20, 2017 at: https://bloom.bg/….)
1/16/18, The Progressive Farmer, Todd Hultman