The United States and China have agreed to suspend any further tariffs until March 1, allowing the two counties to hopefully negotiate some kind of trade agreement. The Trump Administration is optimistic that a deal can be reached, however the agriculture industry is hesitant to celebrate this perceived move towards trade resolution.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a hard deadline,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told CBS Face the Nation. “When I talked to the president of the United States, he’s not talking about going beyond March. He’s talking about getting a deal. If there is a deal to be gotten, we want to get it in the next 90 days.”
China appears to be upholding their end of the agreement by making a significant purchase of U.S. soybeans; the first sizable order in six months. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed sales of 1.13 million tons of American soybeans were headed to China. Although it was the ninth-largest single-day soybean sale for the US, it equated to just 3.5 percent of Chinese soy purchases last year.
Many farmers negatively affected by the volatile trade relationship between the two countries remain anxious despite the interim agreement, as the negotiations will need to show some level of progress by the March 1st deadline in order to delay further action. Some economists have expressed skepticism that negotiations will achieve what will be necessary to avoid any further retaliatory tariff action.