After more than a year of escalating trade tensions, the United States and China have come to a truce
As part of the first phase of their trade deal, both countries agreed to table another round of tariffs that were planned for December 15. Over the next two years, China will also increase its purchases of American goods and services by a minimum of $200 billion, which includes $32 billion worth of agricultural products. That will bring China’s average annual imports of American farm goods to $40 billion, nearly double the pre-trade war benchmark of $24 billion in 2017. Additionally, China has says it will not engage in currency manipulation practices and that it will abide by international intellectual property protections.
Though the deal will likely bring much-needed stability to volatile agricultural export markets, there are still a number of outstanding questions and concerns about what it means for American farmers and ranchers. For one, it is unclear
which agricultural products China plans to purchase, or whether American farmers will capable of producing enough to fill such a hefty order. Some have also expressed concern that prioritizing China to such an extent might give the country undue
influence over American agriculture, and it might affect the United State’s relationship with other trading partners. Furthermore, relations between the United States and China have historically been rocky, and will likely continue to be for many decades to come. There is some worry that American farmers will scale up operations with the assumption of the Chinese market, only to have nowhere to sell their products if a dispute arises.