Agriculture is ‘Unpredictable Sector’ in Sino-U.S. Trade, Says Tai



Chuck Abbott | Successful Farming

The United States will press China to live up to its commitments in the “phase one” agreement, said U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai on Monday in unveiling the Biden administration’s “strategic vision for re-aligning trade policies toward China.” During a speech at a Washington think tank, Tai said agricultural trade was an “unpredictable sector” given Chinese willingness to intervene in the market.

China was forecast to buy record amounts of U.S. farm and food exports this year, boosting U.S. farm income. Even so, its purchases would be far below the lofty targets written into phase one — more than $40 billion this year, for example. Ag trade has been volatile; exports to China plunged to $9.2 billion in 2018 after President Trump started the trade war, and soared to $26.4 billion in 2020 after phase one was signed.

“It is increasingly clear that China’s plans do not include meaningful reforms to address the concerns that have been shared by the United States and many other countries,” said Tai in a review of the bilateral trade relationship. China subsidizes industries such as steel and photovoltaic cells, and imposes one-sided policies on intellectual property.

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