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Report says Phase One Trade Deal Signing May Happen This Weekend

Reports surfaced early on Monday that the Chinese Vice Premier will lead a delegation to Washington, D.C., to sign the Phase One trade deal. A source close to the situation tells the South China Morning Post that Liu (Lou) He will fly to Washington on Saturday to sign the agreement. The source said the U.S. extended the invitation and Liu has accepted. Farm Futures reports that Beijing and Washington haven’t confirmed the trip yet. China is already buying larger amounts of U.S. agricultural products, including soybeans, which was a big part of the agreement for U.S President Donald Trump. The possibility of making the deal official this weekend will mean increased purchases by China, as well as a partial end to the trade war that’s dominated headlines for the past 18 months. China’s soybean imports from the U.S. recently hit a 20-month high at 2.6 million tons, the highest number since March of 2018, when the trade war between the world’s largest economies began to pick up steam. Reports of higher food prices in China will likely mean a need for increased imports of U.S. agricultural goods in the months ahead to bring down those prices.


White House Adviser says Agreement with China is a Done Deal

White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro said on Monday afternoon that the Phase One trade deal with China is wrapped up. “That’s a done deal,” Navarro says. “You can put that one in the bag.” The one thing he didn’t do was confirm a report by the South China Morning Post that China’s Vice Premier will be in Washington to sign the deal this weekend. Navarro giving his affirmation to the deal with China shows that President Trump doesn’t face pressure from conservatives to negotiate more favorable terms for the U.S. Navarro’s hostility toward China and its global trade and economic practices is well known in Washington, as he published a book during his career titled “Death by China.” Under the agreement announced on December 13, the U.S. put off implementing new tariffs on Chinese imports while reducing some existing duties. China agreed to bigger purchases of American agricultural products and made new commitments on intellectual property projections and forced technology transfers. As of now, the exact terms of the agreement haven’t been announced.  


Ag Negotiator; $80 Billion in Purchases “Doable” for China

The Phase One trade agreement between China and the U.S. has the two nations in “close contact” as they work toward getting the deal finally signed. U.S. Chief Ag Negotiator Gregg Doud says the agreement between the world’s two largest economies will mean big numbers of Chinese agricultural purchases of U.S. ag commodities. He tells Farm Journal that, “China’s purchase commitment is built upon a base year of $24 billion in ag purchases, which occurred in 2017. What China has agreed to do is buy an additional $32 billion over the next two years on top of that $24 billion mark.” Doud did acknowledge there are those people who say China’s potential purchase levels will be hard to reach. However, he says that it doesn’t take into account some of the new structural changes in the agreement. “China imported $124 billion in ag products last year from around the world,” he says. “What we’re asking China to do is to commit to $40 billion out of that $124 billion total.” He thinks because of the structural changes in the deal, China will be more than able to accomplish that.


U.S. Farm Exports to Philippines Hit Record

The United States has seen a lot of benefits from the Philippines’ growing demand for imported agricultural products. The USDA’s Foreign Ag Service says agricultural exports to the Philippines will reach a record of $3 billion by the end of this year as shipments continue to arrive. The U.S. currently commands 28 percent of market share in the nation, making it the largest supplier of agricultural products. Last year, the Philippines was the 11th-largest market for U.S. ag exports. The top five products included soybean meal, wheat, dairy products, pork and pork products, as well as poultry. Last year, ag exports to the Southeast Asian nation reached a record of $2.9 billion. U.S. soybean meal was the highest-value export, worth $884 million in 2018. USDA data shows that “While sales were down four percent from January to October year-on-year, Manilla officials still expect a record $3 billion as shipments picked up ahead of the holiday season.” U.S. food and beverage products alone will reach a record $1.2 billion by the end of 2019, which amounts to more than 29,000 container trucks.


USDA Sets Requirements for Meat and Poultry Labels

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a clarification on its requirements for accuracy in labeling of meat and poultry products. An Agri-Pulse report says the Food Safety and Inspection Service says the only way beef can be labeled “grass-fed” is if they fed on grass or forage 100 percent of the time after they were weaned. Because cattle would then have to have access to pasture until slaughter, they can’t ever be put into a feedlot. Products that come from animals with less than 100 percent access to grass or forage before slaughter can’t use the term grass-fed. The only way that can happen is if the label makes it clear that at least some of the animal’s dietary needs came from grain. As an example, the report says an acceptable label could be “Made from cows that are fed 85 percent grass and 15 percent corn.” The guidance that came out late last week also says certified organic products can be labeled legally as “raised without antibiotics” or “no added hormones” with no documentation required. The farm that produced the organic livestock or poultry, as well as the processor, have to be certified organic under USDA standards.


USB Sets Goals for 2020

United Soybean Board CEO Polly Ruhland recently announced her group’s priorities for the year ahead. 2020 goals will include improving farmer profitability by focusing in on meal, oil, and sustainability. One of the things they’re researching this year is to prove the amino acid profile, as well as how valuable it can be to livestock producers that feed soy to their animals. That’s why they’re looking further into both their meal and protein quality improvements in the soybean. Another area of focus for USB is enhancing and communicating the sustainability of soy. Improvements in technology over the years have allowed soybean farmers to grow more soybeans and use fewer acres of land to do it. They want the public to know that the sustainability of soy can help the planet and put profit into a farmer’s operation at the same time. Another 2020 objective is to focus their research on the benefits of soybean oil, more specifically in high oleic soybean oil. The objectives were highlighted this month during the United Soybean Board meeting in December.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.