Slowing Trade Flows, Suspended Talks

Dan Trade


(NAFB) — The worldwide coronavirus outbreak is taking a toll on farm trade talks and trade flows. Suspended trade talks, slowed trade flows, unknown economic impacts on ag producers, all the result of pandemic coronavirus.

“I think you’ve seen over the last couple of months, shipments being slowed because of China. Of course, as we’re seeing this spread around the world, other countries will be affected. And, of course, we’re hoping that this doesn’t affect our ports the same way…but that’s a situation that will have to unwind over the next few weeks.”

That’s American Farm Bureau’s (AFB’s) Dave Salmonsen. He says Chinese port workers are “back in business,” whittling down a big backlog, while European ports could be hit next. But meantime, trade talks and deals are affected.

“We were expecting the US-UK talks to get started, perhaps, this week…this coming week. But, of course, that’s put off now. And deals with the EU, Commissioner Hogan was supposed to be here. He’s not coming, of course, now. So, everything’s delayed, which does put pressure on the EU-UK, US-EU and US-United Kingdom talks, because there is a timeframe that’s set out for the United Kingdom-European Union trade deal to be done by the end of this year.”  

But the good news is USMCA, the North American deal.

“One thing it did do was to speed up, from what we thought would be the passage by Canada, their parliament, of the USMCA. They got that done last Friday, before their parliament recessed, due to the coronavirus. And I think all the other things on their end, are pretty well done, or underway.”

Meantime, AFB staff is working from home, many in government are teleworking, and producers remain on edge as the nation grapples with the unfolding coronavirus crisis.

Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasters