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U.S., China reach truce on tariff increase

Optimism exists for comprehensive agreement as trade talks continue.  

On Friday afternoon, it was announced that the U.S. and China had reached a partial agreement in the trade war between the two countries. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the 25-30% hike set to go into effect on Oct. 15 will not be implemented as the U.S. and China finalize this part of the trade deal. The meeting follows two days of talks between high-level trade negotiators.

Specifically, China agreed to some agricultural concessions, and the U.S. would provide some tariff relief. Michael Best Strategies stated that a person close to the talks confirmed that a partial deal had been reached.

Trump on Friday also seemed to be taking a longer-term view, looking ahead to a day when he could sign a more comprehensive agreement — the kind of deal that would require negotiators to settle the tougher issues at the heart of the trade war,” Denise Bode, partner at Michael Best Strategies, said in a trade alert. “That type of deal — as long as it would not require changes to U.S. law — would not need congressional approval, unlike the new North American trade deal the Trump Administration negotiated with Canada and Mexico last year.”

In its weekly newsletter, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) welcomed recent reports that China is making purchases of U.S. pork and currently excluding it from the application of retaliatory tariffs. However, NPPC seeks permanent removal of all punitive tariffs to address China's unique pork supply need.

“With African swine fever dramatically reducing domestic production, the United States is well positioned to meet China's need for safe, nutritious and affordable pork and to manage an emerging food price inflation challenge,” NPPC said. “In doing so, U.S. pork can single-handedly put a huge dent in the United States' trade imbalance with China.” 

New data released by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a campaign supported by more than 150 business and agricultural trade associations, shows that American consumers and businesses are paying billions of dollars a month in additional taxes because of the ongoing trade war. Since the trade war began in February 2018 through August 2019, Americans have paid an additional $34 billion.

“This data shows why farmer frustration is growing and patience with the trade war has worn thin,” said Brian Kuehl, co-executive director of Farmers for Free Trade. “The nearly 30% drop in overall exports to China is a reflection that soybeans, dairy, wheat and other commodity exports have plummeted. Meanwhile, farmers in South America, Russia, Canada and elsewhere are picking off the markets we’ve let slip away. We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot. The Administration needs to fulfill its promise to farmers and make a deal to end the trade war.”

TAGS: Legislative
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