Vice-President Mike Pence ramped up threats of new tariffs against Chinese goods, just as the U.S. scored key trade wins—a Canada-Mexico deal, one with South Korea, and trade talks with Japan and the EU.
But ag losses in China for soybeans, pork and other U.S. commodities are huge, and USDA and U.S. trade officials are scrambling for other opportunities.
Taiwan plans to buy more than 1-point-5 billion dollars of US soybeans, as China—the biggest U.S. soybean buyer until now—has stopped buying as much as 14-billion worth a year. Taiwan last year was the sixth largest buyer of US soybeans…and has now signed a letter of intent to buy as much as 3-point-9 million metric tons over the next two-years.
At the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, Ag Trade Ambassador Greg Doud said, “Since the confirmation of my fellow deputies and myself, we are undergoing thorough analysis of future FTA (Free Trade Agreement) partners. We are looking into the benefits of potential partners in Southeast Asia and Africa.”
And USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney said, “Looking ahead, before the year’s out, I’ll lead an ag trade mission to South Africa. Simultaneously, my colleagues with FAS will lead a similar group to South Africa. Thereafter, we’ll be in the Philippines and Thailand. All told, when the year’s complete, we will have doubled the number of formal ag trade missions from years past.”
Meantime, McKinney says U.S. pork has reentered Argentina, South Korea has lifted its ban on U.S. poultry, U.S. citrus is entering the EU, and U.S. DDGs are again entering Vietnam.