American and Chinese officials agreed to put a “hold” on proposed tariffs while working on a new trade agreement. United States farmers and ranchers hope to see an increase in agricultural exports to China after bearing the brunt of rising trade tensions.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expects to see “a very big increase” of United States agricultural sales to China. Mnuchin estimates a 35 to 40-percent increase in agricultural exports to China in 2018 alone. President Donald Trump backed Mnuchin’s theory. President Trump said in a tweet: “China has agreed to buy massive amounts of additional farm/agricultural products.”
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he is encouraged by the Administration’s decision to stand up to China on trade.
“That gives me some hope,” Senator Grassley said. “Particularly with China wanting to reduce their deficits by buying more agricultural products, reducing tariffs (and) taking the embargo off of sorghum. I think I heard that they were going to take our soybeans without the tariff. If this turns out to be true, it would be good news. That’s why I say there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe in a couple weeks, I could be talking to you again and that light goes out.”
Many remain skeptical of China’s eagerness to purchase additional goods, without knowing the details of a potential agreement. China purchased $19.6 billion worth of agricultural products from the United States in 2017. Grassley says it’s up to China whether or not they want to purchase more goods. He adds U.S. growers can produce more, if China decides to make additional purchases.
“At least on corn and soybeans, we see our production go up a little bit every year. Pretty much a straight line – not the usual ups and downs we had prior to 10 years ago – mostly because of genetics,” Grassley said.