By Troy Treasure
Agri-business development, rural broadband, trade schools and foreign trade were among subjects Missouri State Agriculture Director Chris Chinn (R-Clarence) addressed Saturday, February 29 at the annual Lincoln Day Soup Supper in Shelbina.
The Phase One trade deal with China went into effect in February, but Chinn cautioned benefits will not be seen until the third quarter of 2020. Left unsaid was how the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China would affect U.S. and global trade.
Chinn claimed ag-trade, specifically Chinese purchases of American soybeans and pork, already had experienced an uptick in 2019 from the previous year. She is hopeful an increase in beef sales is on the horizon.
“They are going to relax their restrictions on their hormone regulations and age restrictions. Having that fixed is a great deal,” Chinn said. “The expectation is, over the next two years we could receive as much as $1 billion in beef sales to China. That’s a big, big increase over what we’ve had, which was zero pretty much before.”
Chinn also predicted increases in the sale of poultry, pork and dairy products to the Chinese, particularly infant formula among the latter.
China is America’s third-leading trade partner. Mexico is first, Canada second. Full ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) is being held up by the Canadian Parliament.
“It looks like it’s going to happen, it’s just that they have to go through all of that process,” Chinn said of Canada’s legislative branch of government. “We’re not worried about it; we’re just anxiously waiting for it to happen.
“While everybody thinks China is a big deal for us, actually, the USMCA is a bigger deal for Missouri agriculture,” she added.
Elsewhere in global trade, Chinn claimed the U.S. had a successful 2019 with Japan, South Korea, as well as the European Union.
“They’ve agreed to purchase more beef from us than they have in the past,” she said of the EU.
Looking ahead, the U.S. is targeting India, Kenya and the United Kingdom. The UK’s gradual withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) has further opened a trade door with its long-time ally.
“They have until December 31 of this year to finish the Brexit, where they completely get away from the European Union,” Chinn said.
“If you look at England, it’s pretty much a little island. They are excited at the opportunity to be importing corn and soybeans from the United States.”