The US has signaled China will buy $50 billion of farm goods. But one chart shows they’ve never come anywhere close to that before.

source
Reuters
  • The United States and China on Friday announced a “Phase One” deal that would prevent an immediate escalation of the trade war between the two largest global economies.
  • The final terms governing commerce between Washington and Beijing are still being hammered out, but Trump is expected to roll back over time the $360 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods already in place.
  • White House advisers told The New York Times that the Chinese had agreed to buy $50 billion of American agricultural goods next year as part of the interim deal, particularly soybeans and pork, but the Chinese government hadn’t confirmed it.
  • That would be double the historic rate of the China’s purchases of US farm goods, given that China at its peak only bought $25.9 billion of American agricultural products in 2012, according to Labor Department data illustrated in the graph below.
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The United States and China announced a “Phase One” deal that would prevent an immediate escalation of the trade war between the two largest global economies on Friday.

It would, for the time being, cancel the $160 billion in tariffs that President Trump was slated to kick in on Dec. 15 on a range of electronics and toys.

The final terms governing commerce between Washington and Beijing are still being hammered out, but Trump is expected to roll back over time the $360 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods already in place.

White House advisers told the New York Times that the Chinese had agreed to buy $50 billion of American agricultural goods as part of the interim deal, particularly soybeans and pork. The Chinese government hadn’t confirmed it though and avoided giving firm figures in its announcement.

That would be double the historic rate of the China’s purchases of US farm goods, given that China at its peak only bought $25.9 billion of American agricultural products in 2012, according to Labor Department data illustrated in the graph below.

agriculture exports to china

source
Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

In 2018 – when Trump started the trade war – farm exports to China were cut in half from the year before to only $9.2 billion. Analysts projected that it would slump a bit further to $8 billion this year.

The increased rate of purchases could provide relief to farmers who have suffered billions in Chinese sales. But there are still many hurdles as they try reestablish their trade relationship with China, according to Matt McAlvanah, the spokesperson for Farmers for Free Trade, an advocacy group.

McAlvanah previously told Business Insider that “it’s very difficult to regain markets farmers have spent decades cultivating. These relationships are built over time, they’re built on trust – and when they go away overnight, they don’t come back overnight.”