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US and China Far Apart but a Trade Fix is on the Table

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A U.S.-China partial trade fix is reportedly on the table, and if it succeeds, it could mean an end to retaliatory Chinese duties against U.S. agriculture products. China would get relief from U.S. sanctions on telecom equipment maker ZTE, in exchange for China returning to to the status quo for U.S. agriculture in addition to other tariff and non-tariff relief.

American Farm Bureau trade adviser Dave Salmonsen says the latest back and forth over ZTE and U.S. ag might just get the bullseye off American farm goods.

“This potentially could be a way out for some of these things,” he said. “Maybe this is certainly part of what we want to have happen, which is a negotiated process, not using the tariff tool but talk and use other measures perhaps to try to get past these issues of just going to tariffs to solve underlying steel and technology problems.”

The fact that the word agriculture comes up in news accounts of a possible deal with China might be a signal of extra attention from the White House, given the damage the fight is inflicting on U.S. producers.

“They’ve heard directly from the ag community, so I think they know it very well,” Salmonsen said. “It certainly brings up the idea that they are hearing directly about the tariff issues, potential issues we’re seeing in trying to get U.S. products into Chinese ports, things that are being held up, that these things are cropping up due to these tariff issues.”

President Trump tweeted Sunday that he and China’s President Xi are working together to give ZTE, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker “a way to get back into business, fast.”  Trump added, the “Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”

The tweet comes as U.S. officials expect to meet with China’s top economic adviser in Washington this week or next to discuss strained trade ties.

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad says the two sides are still very far apart and he also said President Trump would like to see a dramatic increase in food exports to China.

Source: NAFB News