This week President Donald Trump announced he was delaying the next round of tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods until Oct. 15. The tariffs were to go into effect on Oct. 1 from 25 % to 30%.
China has recently indicated it is willing to buy additional U.S. agricultural products, including pork.
The next round of negotiations are early next month in Washington, D.C.
Agriculture rallies for USMCA
On Thursday the agricultural community held a rally in Washington, D.C. telling Congress it is time to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. They were joined by House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Ranking Member Mike Conaway ((R-TX).
Agricultural groups participating included the American Farm Bureau Federation, Farmers for Free Trade, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Apple Association.
Discussion are increasing between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the House Democratic USMCA working group on issues Democrats believe need to be addressed, especially enforcement of labor standards. There is growing optimism that a vote will take place this year on USMCA.
Congressional retirements continue
With the 2020 election only 14 months away, five Senators and 14 Representatives are announcing they will not be running for re-election.
Senate: There are five Senators who have announced their retirements. They are Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Tom Udall (D-NM).
House: There are 16 House members who have announced their retirements – 13 Republicans and three Democrats. Five of the Republicans are from Texas. Republicans retiring are: Rob Bishop (UT), Susan Brooks (IN), Mike Conaway (TX), Sean Duffy (WI), Bill Flores (TX), Will Hurd (TX), Kenny Marchant (TX), Paul Mitchell (MI), Pete Olson (TX), Martha Roby (AL), Jim Sensenbrenner (WI), John Shimkus (IL) and Robert Woodall (GA). Democrats retiring are Susan Davis (CA), Jose Serrano (NY) and Dave Loebsack (IA). There are three House members running for another office: Bradley Byrne 9R-AL) for Senate, Greg Gianforte (R-MT) for Governor and Ben Ray Luhan (D-NM) for Senate.
We can expect more announcements of Members retiring before the end of the year.
USTR seeking comments on trade barriers
USTR is seeking public input on identifying significant trade barriers to U.S. goods and services, U.S. foreign direct investment, unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, and the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
This information will be used by USTR in developing the annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.
The deadline for submitting comments is Oct. 31.
Food insecurity continues to decline
USDA’s latest report, “Household Food Security in the United States in 2018,” shows that food insecurity in the U.S. continues to decline. It is the lowest since 2007, prior to the recession.
There were 11.1% of U.S. households that experienced food insecurity in 2008. Food insecurity means they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. This compares to 11.8% in 2017 and a high of 14.9% in 2011.
Government feeding programs helped food-insecure households. The report found approximately 56% of food-insecure households in the previous month had participated in one or more of the federal nutrition assistant programs (SNAP; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch Program).