China could be doing more than just buying corn and soybeans to meet their Phase One commitments.
“They could be doing more on the biofuels side, they could be doing more with dried distiller’s grain, they could be doing more in dairy, but certainly corn, soybeans, and some of the other commodities, they are purchasing fairly significant amounts to the point where we’re probably back to where we were pre-tariff. Pre-pandemic for sure.”
That’s Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who adds that the relationship with China is a complex one. He says the fact is, China needs us.
“They may not like that. They may not want to have to acknowledge that, but at the end of the day, they can’t grow enough, unlike the United States, to feed their own people. They need the import of food and they can’t necessarily import it from other sources without including the U.S.”
Vilsack says the trade war hurt the US market share in China.
“Prior to the tariffs assessed by the Trump administration, we had about 25 percent of their market. Today, it’s about 15 percent. I raised that issue with the (Chinese Minister of Agriculture), but it’s incumbent upon us to continue to make the case to continue to press their responsibilities under Phase One, and to continue to look for ways in which they recognize that they can have the best quality, the safest product, and reliable and stable supply of product coming from the U.S.”
Vilsack recently spoke with his counterpart in China to discuss these issues and more, including how they can cooperate on climate.