Grading the Phase One trade deal

An ag economist says China is on pace to purchase a record dollar amount of U.S. ag goods in the last year of the Phase One trade deal.

Ag Economic Insight’s David Widmar tells Brownfield China has purchased nearly $20 billion worth of ag goods as of August, more than either trade war year…

“China could be on pace to purchase somewhere around $33 billion [of U.S. ag goods],” he said. “For context, the record was set back in 2013 at $29 billion.”

Widmar said China purchased a near-record $28.8 billion of ag goods last year despite the pandemic. And, although China is likely to fall short of its trade commitments, he said several considerations must be taken when looking back on the Phase One trade deal with China.

He said grading the trading partner’s fulfillment of the deal during the pandemic is like giving a mixed exam.

“It’s kind of like making the rubric and then the world changed while the test was getting administrated,” Widmar said. “And now, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to grade this when some of the kids thought it was open notes, and some of them thought it was closed notes, and some of them were working together; and there’re just all these things that you didn’t anticipate [that] came into reality.”

Widmar said it’s best to look at recent trade with China with a focus on trajectory and not just through the lens of the trade deal.

David Widmar Interview

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