WASHINGTON — Soy complex futures opened with wide gains during the first trading session following the Dec. 1 meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the two leaders agreed to refrain from escalating the tariff war that has embroiled the two nations since the summer. Advances in the soy complex were scaled back in subsequent trading.
The White House indicated President Trump agreed to leave the tariffs previously imposed on $200 billion worth of Chinese products at the 10% rate, and not raise those tariffs to 25% at this time (the hike in the tariffs had been scheduled to take place on Jan. 1).
In exchange, the White House indicated, China “will agree to purchase a not-yet-agreed-upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between the two countries. China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.”
China last summer raised tariffs on U.S. soybeans by 25%. The tariff effectively closed the world’s largest market for imported soybeans to U.S. producers and exporters.
Without a joint statement or written communique that summarized what was agreed, there remained uncertainty about just when and how China would resume importing U.S. agricultural products, and in what volumes.
Veteran soybean market analysts said the window of opportunity for renewed large exports of U.S. soybeans to China in the current marketing year was closing. It was thought because of rapid progress in seeding what was expected to be yet another record soybean crop in Brazil, that country may have new crop soybeans to sell China earlier than normal, perhaps even by late December or early January.
The White House asserted China also agreed to “immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.” The White House added both parties agreed that they will endeavor to resolve these issues in 90 days. “If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10% tariffs will be raised to 25%.”
Chinese statements on the Trump-Xi talks said both nations would work to resolve disputes but made no mention of a 90-day deadline to resolve all outstanding trade issues between the two countries.