U.S. farmers cautious about ‘first phase’ deal reached with China

United States
Published:  16 October, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump has encouraged domestic farmers to prepare for a great influx of business as China reportedly promised to buy up to US$50 billion in U.S. agricultural products.

However, after months of reported losses, the U.S. farmers are said to remain cautious over the ‘first phase’ deal reached with China. Trump said the recent trade talks held in Washington resulted in both nations reaching a “very substantial phase one deal”, whereby China is to address intellectual property concerns raised by the U.S. and buy US$40 billion to US$50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products. In exchange, the U.S. agreed to hold off on a tariff hike set for this week.

However, the Farm Bureau, the biggest agricultural federation in the U.S., demand to know further details of the agreement, while the U.S. National Farmers Union (NFU) said the implications of a trade deal with China for American Farmers are still unclear. “There are many questions that still need to be answered; what will these agreed to policy reforms look like? How will they be enforced? And over what time frame will the US$50 billion of agricultural purchases, an amount that is double our peak annual farm exports to China, take place?”, said Roger Johnson, President NFU.

Allegedly, China wants another round of talks before signing phase one of the trade deal, but it is not clear whether and when the talks will take place. According to Bloomberg media, China wants the U.S. to scrap a tariff hike scheduled for December.

The U.S. government is reported to have released US$28 billion in financial aid to its farmers in an attempt to soften the impact from the Chinese tariffs, but there is no mention in the trade deal of China lifting its existing tariffs, it is claimed.

Source: CNBC/France 24