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U.S./China Talks Draw a Blank

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The trade war between China and the U.S. seems primed to worsen as the governments failed to make progress in two days of discussions. Reuters says the two sides met last week with low expectations of progress and there are no further talks scheduled at this time. A source close to the negotiations told Reuters that Chinese officials have raised the possibility of no further talks until after the U.S. elections in November. The lack of progress adds to uncertainty for businesses who now have to weigh the risks when considering investments in the U.S. or China. A new round of tariffs could take effect as soon as early September.

The two countries engaged in talks for the first time since last June. U.S. officials were due to meet with delegations from the European Union and Japan to discuss joint efforts to confront China at the World Trade Organization over its industrial subsidies and conduct of its state-owned enterprises.

Soybeans were one of the first major casualties in the trade war. Russia is hoping to take advantage of the situation and cut deals with Chinese agribusinesses to make up for lost supply. The Washington Post says the Kremlin will offer roughly 2.5 million acres of arable land to foreign investors. Analysts are describing it as a bid to replace the U.S. as China’s most reliable soybean supplier.

The Post article says Chinese officials are making plans to trim around seven million soybean tons off of the nearly 33 million tons it’s been buying annually from U.S. farms. Soybeans represent U.S. farmers’ single largest agricultural export to China, which takes approximately 60 percent of the world’s supply every year.

Source: NAFB News Service