But this year, Walton is trying to rely less on foreign buyers. Instead of exporting his soybeans, he is selling them to a domestic company that will use the crop for seed.
Walton remains frustrated with the Biden administration for leaving US tariffs in place. If trade tensions eased, Beijing may lift the tariffs on US soybeans too. He’s also frustrated that the administration has so far failed to successfully appoint people to two key agricultural trade positions: The chief agricultural negotiator role at the Office of the US Trade Representative and the undersecretary for foreign trade position at the US Department of Agriculture remain open.
“It signals to me that trade is not a priority for the administration. If it was a priority for them, they’d have those trade positions filled and they’d be working on updating trade agreements with China and other countries,” 他说.
Biden leaves tariffs in place
本月初, the Biden administration took a first step toward conducting a statutory four-year review of the US tariffs on Chinese goods
— but officials have given no indication that the review will result in removing the tariffs
至今, the Biden administration has resisted the pressure from the American business community to lift the tariffs
, which has ramped up as inflation increases
在一个 面试 last Monday at the Milken Institute Global Conference
, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said all tools are on the table to address inflation but stopped short of saying whether lifting tariffs should be one of them
在 2020, a truce was reached between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both sides stopped adding new tariffs as part of what’s known as the Phase One deal. Beijing also agreed to increase its purchases of US goods and agricultural products.
但 China fell well short of its goal
, buying only
57% of the US exports it had committed to purchasing by the end of
2021. While agricultural exports to China returned to
2017 等级, they fell short of China’s commitment
. Soybean exports fell more than
30% short of the target
Biden suggested earlier this year that China’s failure to meet its commitments is the reason he’s leaving the tariffs in place.
,” the President said in January when asked if it’s time to begin lifting some of the tariffs
“I’d like to be able to be in a position where I can say they’re meeting the commitments, or more of their commitments, and be able to lift some of it. But we’re not there yet,” 他加了.
Impact on US soybeans
US exports of soybeans declined sharply immediately after China put the tariffs in place in
2018. Soybeans lost more than
75% of their export value to China between
2018 和 2019, 根据一个 报告 from the USDA
But soybean sales to China have nearly rebounded to their pre-trade-war levels. Soybean exports to China were just 1% lower in the year after the Phase One deal had been signed than they were in 2017, the USDA report found.
仍然, it’s hard to know what would have happened without the tariffs in place.
“The overall impact the tariffs have had on trade is a much harder thing to sort through ever since the ceasefire,” said Joseph Glauber, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and former chief economist at the USDA.
仍然, he thinks it’s a “no-brainer” for the US to lift the tariffs. “It would help normalize trade,” Glauber added.
Some farmers fear they may have permanently lost some of their Chinese buyers who turned to other countries for soybeans over the last four years.
As US exports to China increased after the Phase One agreement was reached, exports from other countries grew at even faster. 结果是, the US market share of China’s agricultural imports is now smaller than it was before the trade war: 17% in approximately the first year of Phase One compared with 20% in calendar year 2017, according to the USDA.
There are non-tariff barriers to trade imposed by China as well. Commercial Chinese buyers need government approval to import US soybeans.
“Importers in China have to jump through hoops to get access to US soybeans. There’s clearly a cost to doing business,” Glauber said.
But trade issues have taken a back seat to other more pressing worries for farmers
, 根据 Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer
42% of producers said higher input costs are their top concern
While Walton remains frustrated with the Biden administration’s lack of action on trade, he also said he is worried about rising costs, especially for herbicide.
“I’ve seen some instances where the price of herbicide has doubled or tripled. … We didn’t get our first choice, but we finally got an herbicide we can use to protect our crop,” Walton said.