Tariff Updates from the White House
Following the recent State of the Union address, President Trump told White House reporters last Thursday that there are no plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jingping before the March 1 tariff deadline. However, according to a new Bloomberg report, the Commander-in-chief is considering pushing the March deadline with China back 60 days. During a recent Cabinet meeting, Trump stated that if a “real deal” can be struck, then he would consider letting the tariff hike slide but continued that he is “not inclined to do that.” U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary, Stephen Censky, stated that Trump and Xi Jinping are planning to meet next month to speak on the trade standoff.
Furthermore, there are mixed reports highlighting the looming uncertainty of the March tariff hike, with one CNBC report stating that the “likely outcome is that the tariffs remain at the current 10 percent rate.” Adding to the uncertainty is an article from Reuters citing three anonymous sources indicating disputing that CNBC report.
Agriculture Shippers’ Luck Running Thin
The agriculture industry has been at the mercy of the Trump administration since the beginning of the trade war. Trade trends of soybean shipments to China have fluctuated greatly as the uncertain trade conditions unfold, further illustrating industry volatility. China soybean shipments experienced a steep decrease right before the December tariff deadline, however, when the 90-day extension was announced in January, soybeans picked back up to 754,609 metric tons.
Overall, China buys an estimated 60% of U.S. soybeans. Therefore, when faced with the uncertainty of this trade war, farmers are put into a tough spot… plant more soybeans or switch to a new crop, less affected by the impending tariffs.
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