With demand high, trade politics take backseat


Gene Lucht, Iowa Farmer Today

AgUpdate - Sep 4, 2021 


The trade wars of the Trump administration may be in the rear view mirror, but trade remains an important issue no matter who is president. Right now, however, the Biden administration is more focused on domestic issues than on trade.


“There’s not a lot of activity right now (on formal trade negotiations),” says Joe Schuele, vice president of communications at the U.S. Meat Export Federation.


Generally speaking, agricultural trade has been booming, according to Dave Salmonsen, senior director for congressional relations at the American Farm Bureau Federation. Exports have been up in recent years.


China continues to buy U.S. agricultural products under the Phase I agreement and is at least close to the pace needed to reach the terms of the agreement. That commitment ends at the end of this year. China has also continued doing most of what it said it would do in regards to trade standards.


The difference is one of tone, Salmonsen says. Donald Trump campaigned on trade and protectionism and his administration started off with that on the front burner. The U.S. left the Trans Pacific Partnership discussion within days of his taking office.


President Joe Biden, like Barack Obama before him, took office during an emergency situation (COVID now, a financial crisis in 2009) and made it clear that domestic issues were the first priority.


But even now, there are plenty of things happening...