Chinese trade negotiators cancel U.S. farm visits

The U.S. farm visits by Chinese trade negotiators have been called off. After wrapping trade talks in Washington this week, Chinese officials, led by Vice Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Jun, were scheduled to travel to Bozeman, Montana, and Omaha, Nebraska.

The cancellation of the farm visits was confirmed by the Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s director of national affairs, Nicole Rolf and the Nebraska department of agriculture. The Chinese delegation is heading back to China earlier than initially planned. According to Rolf, they were not told as to why the trip was cut short.

The farm visits were confirmed last Thursday by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The meetups were seen as a way for China and the American farmers to build a cordial and friendly relationship which could lead to the former to purchase U.S. agricultural goods again.

According to the United States Census, China spent as much as $5.9 billion in U.S. farm product exports in 2018. China also purchased about 60% of soybean exports of the U.S. in the same year, making it the world’s top soybean purchaser.

The low-level trade talks earlier this week have eased the tension between two of the world’s largest economies. U.S. President Donald Trump said he wants a complete deal with China and not just an agreement about the purchase of U.S. agricultural goods.

Trump announced tariff exemptions on some 437 Chinese products including Christmas tree lights, dog leashes, plastic straws, printed circuit boards, and many more.

He has also announced that it would delay the implementation of the additional tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods. Referring to this as a “gesture of goodwill” to China, the increasing tariffs will be imposed on October 15 instead of October 1.

As for China, it has announced that it plans to exclude American farm goods like soybean and pork from the tariffs. These farm goods join 16 other types of U.S. products that have been exempted from the tariffs. The exemption is said to be valid for a year and will through until September 16, 2020.

Following the reports that Chinese officials have cut their visit to the U.S. short, stocks have fallen this Friday. The cancellation of the farm visits that were supposed to happen next week might have been viewed by some investors as a hint that the U.S. and China are in no way closer to reaching a trade deal.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.8% to 8,117.67 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 59.72 points lower or 0.6% at 26,935.07. The S&P 500 fated better, pulling back 0.5% to 2,992.09.

The drops caused Nasdaq and the Dow to fall 0.7& and 1.1% for the week respectively. The S&P 500 registered a 0.5% loss for the week.

Before the farm visits were canceled, both the S&P 500 and Dow Industrials were in positive trajectories.

For the past couple of months, Wall Street stocks have been bouncing up and down. These are said to be due to the inconsistent signs that the U.S. – China trade talks are showing.

“In this case, it’s a bit more concerning because its China making the decision, rather than Trump,” said markets strategist at Baird, Milwaukee, Willie Delwiche.

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