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US-China Trade Tensions Seem to Ease Some Amid Stalled Threats of Tariff Retaliation, Trade War
US-China Trade Tensions Seem to Ease Some Amid Stalled Threats of Tariff Retaliation, Trade War

Whether you are talking about agriculture or not, it is a wild time right now if you are trying to keep up with all that is going on in US trade relations. Such is the case for Kent Bacus, director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Farm Director Ron Hays of the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network caught up with Bacus recently to get the latest developments on the Chinese front when it comes to this tumultuous series of events that has been unfolding between the US and China amid threats from each side of tariffs and fear of a trade war.

“What we’re hearing is that there’s been some progress in some of the discussions. I think it’s still very speculative at this point to see what the final result will be,” Bacus reported. “I think the promising thing is that we’re actually having these conversations government to government - because keep in mind, China isn’t always the easiest country to work with.”

Bacus says Chinese officials have a litany of very strict rules, regulations and bureaucracy to go through whenever decisions or negotiations are being discussed with other nations. The fact that both US and Chinese emissaries are travelling back and forth to meet face to face is a good sign that perhaps an amicable solution can be hammered. But he warns, too, not to make the mistake that tariffs are off the table. Should negotiations fall apart, he says we could be back to square one and beef potentially in the line of fire. Despite threats of that happening, so far no movement has been made on enacting a retaliatory increase in Chinese tariffs on imported US beef from 12 to 37 percent. Although, China is a comparatively small customer for the US right now when it comes to beef, Bacus reminds us that China is quickly becoming one of the world’s largest importers of beef and is just starting out its relationship with the US beef industry after more than a decade of having severed ties. Bacus says there is a lot of potential for China to become a very important market for the US in the future.

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