The Cost of a Delay in Implementing Trans-Pacific Partnership

In Japan, just as in the U.S., the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has strong proponents pushing for ratification and strong opponents, as well.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, leading the U.S. delegation at the G7 agricultural meeting in Japan talks about the cost of delaying the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Signing Of The Paris Climate Agreement

The US and almost 200 countries formally pledged efforts to address impacts of climate change in ceremonies held Friday in New York City. Rod Bain, US Secretary of State John Kerry, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

President Obama On Paris Climate Agreement

While visiting the British Prime Minister in London, President Obama offered his thoughts on the Paris Climate Agreement. Rod Bain and President Barack Obama

Upcoming Change in Chinese Corn Policy Implications for U.S. feed grain exports and prices

What China Does with its Corn Stockpile Key to U.S. Price Effects 

This October China will stop its policy of building huge corn stockpiles and reduce grain imports. The extent that this will affect U.S. corn prices will depend on what China does with those existing stockpiles.

Gary Crawford and Carl Zulauf, Ohio State University agricultural economist

What They’re Saying: Termination of the Chinese Export Subsidies Program following U.S.-China Agreement

April 15, 2016  Washington DC – “Today we have signed an agreement with China to eliminate export subsidies that the United States challenged because they are prohibited under WTO rules. This is a win for Americans employed in seven diverse sectors that run the gamut from agriculture to textiles to medical products, who will benefit from a more level playing field on which to compete.  This agreement once again underscores that President Obama’s commitment to enforce our trade rights aggressively to secure real economic results for American workers, farmers, and businesses of all sizes and in every part of the country… “This agreement shows our dedication to ensuring that American workers and businesses have the opportunity to compete fairly, supporting high-quality U.S. jobs and strengthening the middle class.  It also demonstrates the resolve with which we will enforce the high standards negotiated in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, whether on labor, environment, intellectual property rights or other commercial issues.”  –-U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman

Following a dispute brought by the United States at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ambassador Michael Froman announced that China has effectively terminated its Demonstration-Bases Common Service Platform” program, which provided export-contingent subsidies to Chinese enterprises across seven economic sectors and dozens of sub-sectors in over 179 industrial clusters. Termination of prohibited export subsidies under the “Demonstration Bases-Common Service Platform” Program will help level the playing field for American workers and businesses in the many affected sectors.

Below are reactions to the announcement:

Representative David Price (D-NC-04): “Today’s announcement demonstrates that strong trade enforcement actions can effectively level the playing field for American businesses and workers. We must continue to be vigilant in monitoring China’s unfair trade practices and in calling for WTO arbitration to end any violations of our international trade standards and agreements.” [Representative David Price, 4/14/2016]

Representative Sam Farr (D-CA-12): “Trade is crucial for the agriculture industry in my California district. Our growers play by the rules and we expect the same from our trade partners. This administration’s strong record of enforcing trade agreements and pushing for even higher standards in future deals ensures that everyone is playing on a level field.” [Representative Sam Farr, 4/14/2016]

Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA-2): “Today’s announcement that China will end its unfair export subsidies program sends a strong and important message that the U.S. will hold our trading partners accountable and enforce the trade agreements we have in place. If other countries want to trade with us, they must play by the rules or face the consequences. I am pleased USTR followed through on this case and is pushing to make sure our workers get a fair shot. Leveling the playing field is exactly why we have the WTO and rules of the road for international trade.” [Representative Rick Larsen, 4/14/2016]

Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28): “This settlement helps level the playing field for American exports to China. Free trade is the backbone of a strong global economy, but it only works if everyone plays by the same rules. Making sure that China and all WTO members honor their agreements will encourage better market access through strong enforcement and accountability measures. This settlement demonstrates how our government needs to enforce the standards laid out in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and in all future trade agreements. We should count today’s announcement as a victory for free trade.” [Representative Henry Cuellar, 4/14/2016]

Representative Scott Peters (D-CA-52): “America’s ability to compete and prosper in a global marketplace depends upon strong, enforceable rules,”  “Businesses that play by the rules need to know the United States will not tolerate unfair trade practices. I applaud the work of Ambassador Froman and USTR to bring about this successful enforcement action for U.S. workers and businesses both small and large, including innovators in San Diego. When the United States leads on trade, we can better set and enforce the rules and create a more level playing field that allows America’s innovators to succeed.” [Representative Scott Peters, 4/14/2016]

Farm Economy Feeling Financial Pressure

More farmers and their organizations are starting to sound the alarm about what’s happening in the farm economy.  Gary Crawford. Zippy Duvall, President of American Farm Bureau Federation. Roger Johnson, President of National Farmers Union. Joe Outlaw with Texas A&M. Rob Johansson, USDA Chief Economist.

Comments from the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management  hearing on the growing financial pressures faced by U.S. farmers and ranchers. This hearing was the first in a new series of hearings entitled Focus on the Farm Economy, where each of the six subcommittees will explore the different pressures resulting from the financial stress in farm country.

Over the past three years, net farm income has fallen 56 percent, the largest three-percentage decline since the Great Depression. Witnesses spoke broadly about the factors that are driving current market conditions, the bleak outlook going forward and the impact that both are having and could have on our nation’s farmers and ranchers going forward. Members expressed how the Farm Bill is written for the bad times—not the good. The committee continues to advocate for a strong farm safety net so farmers and ranchers have the risk management tools they need to continue feeding and clothing our nation and world.

A Quick Look at the latest USDA Crop Reports & Prospective Plantings Impact

Here’s a capsule version of Tuesday’s round of USDA reports, Gary Crawford.  It will be another month before USDA looks at the forecasts for the new crop marketing year, and how last month’s Prospective Plantings report factors into that. Rod Bain and Chief Economist Rob Johansson.