Pace of U.S. trade with China exceeds last year

The Phase One Trade Deal between China and the U.S. comes to an end in early 2022. Veronica Nigh, senior economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), said this year’s numbers are better in 2021 than at the same time last year.

“Thus far in 2021, which is data from January through November, we’ve exported $30 billion to China,” Nigh said in an AFBF Newsline report. “That’s up 33% compared to the same time period in 2020, when we had sold $22 and a half billion.”

Nigh isn’t sure that even the faster buying pace will get China to its purchasing commitments this year.

“The Phase One goal for 2021 is $40.4 billion; at $30 billion, China is relatively close. In December 2020, China bought about $4 billion worth of U.S. ag products,” she said. “Those of you doing the math: they’re about 10 billion short. So far, if the pattern holds, China’s going to be behind in their purchase commitments for 2021.”

Nigh noted the relationship between the U.S. and China is challenging.

“There’s a lot of issues outside of agricultural trade that are significant, a lot of geopolitical issues, which means that though U.S. agriculture trade is incredibly important, you have to deal with a lot of significant political issues before you can start talking about U.S. ag trade,” Nigh said. “The additional communication and meeting between our government can only be helpful, however. The tariffs continue, but the purchase agreement is over at the end of 2021. That makes the relationship between U.S. and China all the more complicated going into 2022.”

The phase one agreement was signed in January 2020.

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