Farmers Have Little To Be Happy About From Trump’s Failed China Trade Deal
January 16, 2020
This morning, Trump said that “The farmers are really happy with the new China Trade Deal.” But Trump’s “phase one” China trade deal falls far short of the promises he made to them, and can’t make up for the lasting damage he’s done.
China’s commitments barely even make up for farmers’ total losses during Trump’s negotiations.
CNN: “China promised to buy billions of dollars more in agricultural products from US farmers as part of a ‘phase one’ trade deal signed Wednesday — but the commitments don’t go much further than making up for what was lost during the trade war.”
CNN: “Farm bankruptcies are up 24% compared to the year before, according to the American Farm Bureau.”
Farmers still face uncertainty and could be more vulnerable in the long run, because China only agreed to make purchases over the next two years.
New York Times: “China is only agreeing to make purchases for the next two years and is vague about what happens after. … While many farmers would welcome more Chinese purchases of their products, some experts warned that Mr. Trump’s deal could make them more vulnerable in the longer run.”
China isn’t removing retaliatory tariffs on farm goods and said the purchases Trump promised will depend on “market conditions” — further raising doubt they’ll meet their commitments.
Politico: “China won’t lift any of its retaliatory duties on American farm goods, which total $110 billion.”
Reuters: “China’s pledge to buy U.S. farm goods based on ‘market conditions’ during the Phase 1 trade deal signing ceremony on Wednesday added to doubts among farmers and commodity traders over Beijing’s lingering tariffs on U.S. exports.”
Farmers question whether the pain Trump put them through was worth it, and whether they’ll ever be able to undo the damage he’s caused.
National Farmers Union President: “Without more concrete details, we are deeply concerned that all of this pain may not have been worth it. Not only has this trade war cost farmers billions of dollars worth of sales to China, but it has also bruised our reputation, making other trading partners reluctant to work with us.”
Kentucky corn and soybean farmer: “It’s not going to be back to normal, it’s going to be back to a new normal. So we’ll all have to adjust. If everything disappeared tomorrow tariff-wise, it’ll still be a different world.”
Montana farmer: “This deal does not end retaliatory tariffs on American farm exports, makes American farmers increasingly reliant on Chinese state-controlled purchases and doesn’t address the big structural changes the trade war was predicated on achieving.”