Donald Trump, who angered Chinese officials by slapping massive sanctions on Chinese-made goods last year, seems to be finally coming around to the idea that trade with the Asian nation is beneficial to U.S. farmers, reports The Sentinel.
Last year in March, Trump had announced that “trade wars are easy to win,” and over time, slapped tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese products. In response, Chinese officials expressed their exasperation and hit the United States by adding tariffs on $110 billion worth of U.S. goods. Trump had a second round of tariffs planned, with a proposal to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, going from 25 percent from 10 percent, according to CNBC.
But this week, Trump announced that he is planning to delay approving the increase in tariffs, thanks to “substantial progress” made during talks with Beijing. In view of improving relations over trade, Trump has asked China to remove all tariffs on U.S. agricultural products.
“I have asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on our agricultural products (including beef, pork, etc.) based on the fact that we are moving along nicely with trade discussions,” Trump wrote on Twitter. He continued his message in another tweet, adding, “And I did not increase their second traunch of tariffs to 25 percent on March 1. This is very important for our great farmers – and me.”
Trump asked China to remove its tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports as trade talks progress between the two countries https://t.co/v1XIHg0gXp
— POLITICO (@politico) March 2, 2019
With China imposing tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, American farmers — especially soybean farmers — have faced the brunt of the escalating trade conflict. As reported, China is the second largest consumer of American agricultural products. In 2017, U.S. agricultural exports to China hit $20 billion, with soybeans alone accounting for $12 billion.
An end to the escalating trade conflict seemed nowhere in sight, until Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, had dinner at the G20 summit in Argentina this past December. Trump reportedly made the offer not to increase the tariffs on Chinese products, with Jinping promising to strike a trade agreement between the two nations sometime during the next 90 days.
The two leaders are expected to meet sometime in the near future — possibly even this month — to finalize the deal, according to Politico.
Trade experts in America believe that maintaining good relations with China are essential for a thriving agricultural economy for the United States, but claim that Americans can’t be focused on selling only one item.
“I think farmers in this country understand that China has been great, and will continue to be a great market for U.S. soybeans, but if we’re going to take this thing to the next level, we’ve got to figure out a way to open China to all of these other commodities and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do,” said Gregg Doud, chief agricultural negotiator at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.