China Still Major Ag Trading Partner Despite Feud with US Over Taiwan

China continues to be the top ag trading partner for the U.S., despite new tensions over Taiwan, but an American Farm Bureau official says the future’s uncertain.

Farm Bureau trade adviser Dave Salmonsen says China’s importance as a U.S. ag trading partner can’t be understated.

“We were at about 33 billion dollars in ag exports to China last year—obviously, our number one destination.”

But Salmonsen says U.S. strategic concerns over China’s threats to Taiwan could push the White House closer to a trade deal with Taipei. “Depending on how things develop over the next several months, may drive that, maybe that would be the first one.”

That would break President Biden’s anti-free trade deal policy.

But so far, the White House plans only ‘framework’ talks with Taiwan, which it excluded from its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework talks.

“So, I think what’s going on with Taiwan fits a piece of what they’ve been proposing everywhere on trade. So, there’s really nothing different there, yet. It may turn into something else, but I don’t see it, yet.”

Meantime, talks continue with China.

“The Phase I commitments on standards, those continue. There has been dialogue, there still needs to be more work, there, we want that to continue. And, of course, we have the tariff issues that were put on. China has waived a lot of the tariffs in order to keep the trade going, help this rebound—but they still exist.”

As do U.S. tariffs on PRC goods, Farm Bureau and others are pushing to remove. And while Salmonsen says AFBF hopes for continued strong ag trade, and even growth with China, strong external pressures now complicate that relationship.