Will they or won’t they? President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping now aren’t expected to meet later this month. Officials on both sides had said the two presidents were scheduled to be face-to-face later in February but now, CNBC says a meeting before the March 2nd deadline is unlikely. A senior administration official now says there’s “far too much work to do” in a short period of time before a deal can get done with China. President Trump had set a deadline of March 2nd to reach an agreement on trade.
White House Trade Adviser Larry Kudlow tells Fox Business that Trump does expect to meet with Xi at some point in the future, but right now, it’s up in the air. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is pressuring Beijing to make structural changes that would bring an end to policies that force U.S. companies to hand over technology or intellectual property as a requirement for doing businesses in the country. “The administration has argued that such policies are a direct attack on U.S. innovation and represent a deliberate campaign by China to take over dominance in the tech sector.
The American Soybean Association says trade talks are good, soybean purchases are good, but lifting the tariff that China slapped on U.S. soybean imports would be better. The ASA says it’s the only way U.S. soybean producers can regain commercial access to China, their most significant overseas market. “It’s encouraging that the administration is keeping soybeans in their trade conversations with China,” says Davie Stephens, ASA President. “The Chinese Vice Premiere’s commitment to buy another five million tons of soybeans is encouraging, but it’s not the answer. We need an agreement at the end of the 90-day period that specifically rescinds the tariff that China has imposed on U.S. soybean imports.”
The ASA president says the “good-faith” purchase commitment is a positive sign that both countries are working towards the real progress that soybean producers are looking for. However, the purchases don’t offset the damage done to the soybean industry since tariffs were imposed. It also doesn’t repair the long-term damage the tariffs have done to a relationship that was decades in the making. ASA is joining other organizations in asking congressional members to help strengthen their message to the Administration that rescinding the tariffs are vital to the health of the farm economy.