WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2016 - If any new major or even minor
breakthroughs in the U.S. and China’s agricultural trade relationship are going
to happen in the foreseeable future, it will likely be under the Trump
That may be difficult given the anti-China rhetoric espoused
by Trump during the presidential election that he won, but after the
mostly-fruitless meeting last week between the two countries, little is
expected in the final weeks of the Obama administration.
The much-ballyhooed annual trade meeting between high-level
U.S. and Chinese officials produced some gains between the two countries on
semiconductors and medical devices, but for agriculture, it was pretty much a
Just a stone’s throw from the White House, Chinese and U.S.
negotiators sat across from each other at tables in the Ronald Reagan Building
and International Trade Center for long hours over two days last week, but no
major agricultural breakthroughs were reached.
U.S. hopes had been high this year. USDA Secretary Tom
Vilsack had said agreements were possible on getting China to improve its
biotechnology approval process. Farm groups were hopeful the countries could
make progress on resuming beef and poultry trade.
None of those breakthroughs materialized in what will be the
last U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) meeting for U.S.
Trade Representative Michael Froman, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and
"We are disappointed that further progress was not made
on agricultural biotechnology issues during the 27th JCCT,” Vilsack said in a
statement that was released Friday evening, long after the Chinese delegation
had returned home. "Although China has made some progress, it has not
fully implemented commitments on agricultural biotechnology that it made to the
United States which date back as far as September 2015. Those commitments still
stand and the United States expects their full implementation.”
Biotech trait approvals still on hold in China. At a
minimum, American farm groups had hoped that China would use the meeting to
announce the approval of eight biotech traits that have been in the Chinese
approval process for years. But that didn’t happen either.
"The U.S. will be watching the meeting of China’s
National Biosafety Committee scheduled to take place next month, and expects
that the remaining eight biotech traits will be reviewed based on science and
risk, and accordingly approved,” Vilsack said.
"Lack of progress on biotech issues will continue to add years to the
process of commercializing them, will slow innovation and set back global
efforts to address food security and climate change.
The United States expects
that China will fully implement its prior commitments and will work
collaboratively with us to address these global challenges in the future."
Castro dies and Trump expresses hope for Cuba. Fidel
Castro died Friday, assuring the former revolutionary leader of the Caribbean
nation will never see a full resumption of trade between the U.S. and Cuba. The
Obama Administration has been working for months to lift trade, commerce and
The U.S. farm sector has cheered on the Obama
administration, hoping an eventual trade embargo would allow farmers to sell
more corn, soybeans, poultry, dairy and rice to the Communist country.
Donald Trump was critical of the renewed U.S. ties to Cuba
over the past year and he could reverse much of what President Barack Obama has
done through executive actions and regulatory changes. But Castro’s death
elicited hope from Trump for the Cuban people.
Trump said in a statement: "While Cuba remains a
totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the
horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful
Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve. Though
the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our
administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin
their journey toward prosperity and liberty.”
But for Trump to work with Cuba’s leaders and not revoke the
Obama administration’s actions, there’s an expectation for more deal-making.
Speaking on Fox
News Sunday, Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, said,
“President-elect Trump is going to be looking for some movement in the right
direction in order to have any sort of deal with Cuba. I mean, it can't
just be nothing and then you get total and complete cooperation from the United
States. There has to be something, and what that something is, Chris, is
yet to be determined.”
Registration open for USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum. The
title for this year’s forum is A New Horizon: The Future of Agriculture and early
registration is now open, according to the USDA. The department’s
chief economist will be hosting the two-day event on Feb. 23 and 24 in
Arlington, Va., and this time around you can stay in touch with the activities
on Facebook for
the first time.
Hosting a forum as a new administration takes over is always
a tricky affair, according to USDA officials, but one theme expected to be
highlighted is the importance of the Farm Credit System and the strength of the
government safety net for producers.
He said it: “I don’t have a clue.” - Joe Glauber, a senior
research fellow with the International Food Policy Research Initiative and a
former USDA chief economist. Speaking last week at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce
event, Glauber was asked what effect the Trump administration would have on the
future of the annual JCCT meetings.
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