Today: Saturday, 13 April 2024 year

China-US farm ties are stronger and more tenuous than ever

China-US farm ties are stronger and more tenuous than ever

The United States-China relationship in the agricultural sector has never been stronger, said the US Trade Representative’s chief negotiator for agriculture.

Amid the coronacrisis, both China and the United States are happy with their cooperation in the farm and agricultural sectors. Despite the non-stop trade war, pig farmers in China and the American crop farmers have become increasingly interdependent.

Already America’s biggest customer of soybeans and sorghum, for this season China bought an unprecedented 11.2 million tonnes of corn, up nearly 1,300 per cent compared with pre-trade-war purchases.

For China, American imports are really helpful at the moment for its hog herd. Taking into account the African swine fever outbreak that created a shortage of the US’ most staple protein, Chinese help is crucial.

At the same time, the US farm profits are at a seven-year high, riding China’s demand and additional support from federal aid to agriculture. In 2020, corn purchases, once negligible, rocketed to almost 30 per cent, moreover, the deeper reliance is tenuous.

“American agriculture has to be careful of putting too many eggs in the China basket,” said Mr Tom Vilsack, who served as Agriculture Secretary from 2009 to 2017.

Recently, the US has nearly exhausted its export capacity. “We are loading boats as fast as we can,” Mr Gregg Doud, the US Trade Representative’s chief negotiator for agriculture, said in an interview with Bloomberg at the end of October.

The farm belt, which voted overwhelmingly for the re-election of President Donald Trump, is waiting to see how Mr Biden will approach trade negotiations with China.

Even if the political relationship sours, China has been developing its global supply chain.