Questions Surface Re: U.S./China Trade Developments

Posted on 12/02/2018 8:41 AM

Will China “immediately” purchase U.S. farm products? Will China lift some of its tariffs?


Farmers and traders quickly had more questions than answers regarding the various announcements made following a meeting Saturday between President Donald Trump and Chines leader Xi Jinping. Those questions show timing and details are key to market impacts of the Trump/Xi trade truce. Link to background information on the U.S./China trade developments.


1. Will China “immediately” purchase U.S. ag products, especially soybeans and perhaps pork? The White House statement said "immediately"... does that mean Monday?


2. President Trump told reporters: "China will be opening up. China will be getting rid of tariffs." He reiterated the commitment by China to purchase a "tremendous amount of agricultural and other products" from the United States, saying it will have "an incredibly positive impact on farming." Does this mean China will get rid of their tariffs on U.S. products? If so, when? Also, what is a "tremendous amount" of ag products? Recall that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, “China is willing to expand imports according to the needs of the domestic market and the people,” which he said would “gradually ease the problem of trade imbalance.”


3. Will a U.S. soybean or pork exporter want to take the risk of selling U.S. soybeans or pork if there is a risk that after 90 days the U.S. and China cannot reach agreement on the other more contentious issues?


4. Will China make a goodwill gesture of a quick purchase of U.S. soybeans and/or pork? And will that be followed up by more purchases?


5. If U.S. cash soybean prices rally 50 cents or more, how many farmers will sell into that rally, thereby tempering any near-term bullishness? Farmers reportedly still have a lot of soybeans to sell.


6. If China does lift the tariff on U.S. soybeans and it results in continued purchases of U.S. soybeans, won't some analysts who currently predict a significant decline in U.S. soybean plantings in 2019 have to temper those forecasts, again limiting the upside to any sustained soybean rally?


7. Will the latest U.S./China trade developments impact the second and final tranche of Trump tariff aid payments (Market Facilitation Program), especially regarding soybeans and perhaps pork?


8. If there is progress but no final agreement during the 90-day timeline for settling remaining U.S./China trade topics, will President Trump continue the truce, or will he increase and expand existing tariffs?


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