In this file:


·         Escalating trade war causing anxiety in America’s heartland

·         China’s new tariffs are hitting US farmers at ‘every single angle,’ economist says


·         Pelosi to meet with Trump's trade chief Wednesday

·         Trump calls trade war with China 'little squabble,' says talks ongoing



Escalating trade war causing anxiety in America’s heartland


BY Associated Press

via KTIC (NE) - May 15, 2019


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — When President Donald Trump began talking about tariffs in 2017, Upper Midwest soybean farmer Jamie Beyer suspected that her crop could become a weapon. Two years later, she and her family are watching the commodity markets on an hourly basis as an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China creates turmoil in rural America.


“It’s hard to concentrate on planting when you’re constantly checking your phone to see if another (Trump) tweet has prompted a dip in the market,” said Beyer, of Wheaton, Minnesota. Beyer’s family farms about 3,500 acres in Minnesota and South Dakota and she figures it has lost about $230,000 because of the trade war.


These are days of “a little bit of panic” among farmers, she said, and the anxiety is spreading to the agricultural lending industry. One economist said the farm sector might face its greatest downturn in three decades.


Soybean prices plunged early this week to a 10-year low after Trump’s decision late last week to impose punitive duties on $200 billion of imports from China and China’s retaliatory tariff hikes Monday on $60 billion of American goods. U.S. officials then listed $300 billion more of Chinese goods for possible tariff hikes, and China on Tuesday vowed to “fight to the finish.”


The trade war that began last summer has already hurt farmers, despite $11 billion in relief payments that were doled out last year by the federal government. The personal income of farmers declined by $11.8 billion through the first three months of 2019, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. A similar pace of decline is expected in the coming months, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.


“The domestic stress caused by the administration’s trade policy is nowhere more evident than in the agricultural sector,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at the consultant RSM...





China’s new tariffs are hitting US farmers at ‘every single angle,’ economist says


·         China’s tariffs on U.S. pork producers will be a “huge missed opportunity” for American pork producers, especially since African swine fever has hit Chinese supplies, according to Michael Nepveux, an economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

·         Ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions further escalated on Monday when Beijing announced that it would raise tariffs to as high as 25% on more than 5,000 U.S. products starting June 1.

·         According to Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “threatening each other is not the best way to conduct business.”


Shirley Tay, CNBC  

May 14 2019


China’s latest tariff hike on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods hits farmers at “every single angle,” according to an economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation.


“The retaliatory tariffs placed on U.S. farmers from China are a net negative on the industry,” Michael Nepveux told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday.


Ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions further escalated Monday when Beijing announced that it would raise tariffs to as high as 25% on more than 5,000 U.S. products starting June 1. The new Chinese duties target a wide range of agricultural products, and U.S. farmers are set to be hardest hit.


This is a “very, very challenging time for farmers right now,” said Nepveux, especially since Beijing’s tariffs come after March’s historic floods in the Midwest ruined farmers’ crops and stockpiles.


“We’re sitting at one of the lowest net farm incomes we’ve seen in over a decade,” he added. ”(Farmers are) having huge challenges even getting out onto the field in order to try and plant.”


Nepveux pointed out that the U.S. agriculture industry has already been fighting this battle for “pretty much a year.”


A ‘missed opportunity’


The current Chinese tariffs on U.S. pork producers will be a “huge missed opportunity” for American pork producers, especially since African swine fever — which is spreading like “wildfire” in China — has hit Chinese supplies, Nepveux said.


“Some people are saying it could easily be 20, 30% of (China’s) pork production reduced as a result of African swine fever,” Nepveux said. This presents a perfect opportunity for American livestock farmers – but they still face over 60% of tariffs going into China, he said.


However, this issue may also present an opportunity for the U.S. to put extra pressure on China, Nepveux said. “China is going to have to make up that protein somewhere, and U.S. pork is ready to help meet it along with other animal proteins as well.”


To curb the effect of Beijing’s retaliatory duties, Trump on Monday said farmers would receive about $15 billion dollars in aid.


“We’re gonna take the highest year, the biggest purchase that China has ever made with our farmers, which is about $15 billion dollars, and do something reciprocal to our farmers, so our farmers can do well,” the president told reporters.


‘High stakes poker’ ...


more, including links, video report [2:59 min.]



Pelosi to meet with Trump's trade chief Wednesday


By Heather Caygle, POLITICO



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will host President Donald Trump’s top trade official as the president faces backlash from lawmakers in both parties over his increasingly aggressive and controversial trade agenda.


Pelosi is set to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday afternoon, according to two Democratic sources. Several other top House Democrats are expected to attend the talk, including Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal of Massachusetts.


The official topic of the meeting is Trump’s new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, the USMCA. But the president’s escalating trade war with China, resulting in a dramatic tariff tit for tat over the past week, is also sure to come up, according to Democratic sources.


Pelosi controls the fate of the trade deal — a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement — which would need to be ratified by Congress. But the speaker has resisted pressure to move quickly on a vote, saying the pact won’t be considered in the House until several Democratic demands are met, including enforcement measures she wants written into the underlying deal.


Lighthizer and other administration officials have rebuffed the enforcement request, saying they will not reopen negotiations with Mexico and Canada. Senior Senate Republicans have made demands of their own, saying they won’t support the agreement until Trump lifts steel and aluminum tariffs on the two trading partners, something the president has been reluctant to do.


Lighthizer has worked to woo skeptical Democrats...


more, including links



Trump calls trade war with China 'little squabble,' says talks ongoing


Alexandra Alper & Susan Heavey, Reuters

May 13, 2019


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday called the trade war with China “a little squabble” and insisted talks between the world’s two largest economies had not collapsed, as investors remained on guard for a further escalation of tit-for-tat tariffs.


Trump, who has railed against what he describes as China’s unfair trade practices and threatened to impose punitive levies on all its imports, softened his tone in a series of remarks expressing optimism about reaching a trade deal with Beijing.


“We’re having a little squabble with China because we’ve been treated very unfairly for many, many decades,” Trump told reporters, referring to U.S. complaints about Chinese intellectual property and subsidy practices.


Trump also denied talks with China had broken down after Washington punctuated two days of negotiations last week with another round of tariffs on Chinese imports, with Beijing following suit on Monday with higher tariffs on U.S. goods.


“We have a dialogue going. It will always continue,” said the U.S. president, who has announced plans to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G20 summit in Japan late next month. Trump described the dialogue with China as “very good” and touted his “extraordinary” relationship with Xi.


Earlier, Trump tweeted that the United States would make a deal with China when the “time is right” and said that would happen “much faster” than thought.


Global stock markets, which have seen a sharp selloff in the past week on the back of rising U.S.-China tensions, rebounded. Major U.S. stock indexes were up more than 1%, recovering some of their losses on Monday. The U.S. dollar rose against a basket of currencies.


Earlier on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing that it was his understanding that China and the United States had agreed to continue “pursuing relevant discussions.”


“As for how they are pursued, I think that hinges upon further consultations between the two sides,” Geng said.


U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will plan for a trade meeting in China at some point, a U.S. Treasury spokesman said.


U.S. agricultural products have been targeted by China’s retaliatory tariffs, and American farmers, a key political constituency for Trump, are increasingly frustrated with the failure of the two sides to find a solution to the dispute.


Soybeans , which was the most valuable U.S. export crop, bounced off a decade low on Tuesday as the market’s focus shifted to weather-related planting delays that could reduce the crop size. Some analysts said the worst of the trade news was priced into the market.


In a tweet earlier on Tuesday, Trump appealed to China to buy U.S. farm products.


On Monday, he said his administration would provide about $15 billion in aid to farmers whose products were targeted by Chinese tariffs. He did not provide details on the plan, which follows $12 billion in similar farm aid last year.


There are concerns that the pain from tariffs could spread to the broader U.S. economy, with businesses raising prices on a range of consumer goods. Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that “nobody wins a trade war” but he hoped Trump’s tactics in negotiations China would put the United States in a better position to move talks forward with Beijing.