Perdue says no NAFTA news as Trump extends exemptions |

Perdue says no NAFTA news as Trump extends exemptions

Jerry Gulke
The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Monday no news should be expected on the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations this week because Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is traveling in China.

Talking to reporters after a swearing-in ceremony, Perdue also said that the European Union “has played hardball” over the steel and aluminum tariffs the United States has threatened to impose. The European Union does not appear to be “interested in doing reasonable-type approaches,” Perdue said.

Later Monday, President Donald Trump extended the exemptions for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and the European Union, but analysts were less than impressed with the situation.

Jerry Gulke, the market strategy analyst for Top Producer, said on AgWeb today that weather and trade concerns make current price discovery difficult.

“Immersed in all this are two popular beliefs that give me pause and concern,” Gulke wrote.

“The first is that the current trade and tariff dispute will end sooner than later, perhaps before the fall elections. The second is the idea that China has to come to the U.S. eventually to fill their needs for soybeans.

“The idea that China is against the ropes and a solution is imminent is a dangerous presumption and ignores Chinese strategy. What we have stated by the actions of threats of tariffs is that when it comes to food, the U.S. may not be a reliable partner.

“If the shoe were on the other foot, you can be sure we would do what we could to find an alternate source, even if it took a while. To think China would react the way they have without a forethought plan, is underestimating a culture that has seen countries like ours come and go over the centuries.

“The trade issues at stake seem too complicated to settle over a cup of tea and a few meetings. The danger lies in the process taking months to resolve.”

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