President Trump hopes to sign a trade deal to open more agricultural and industrial opportunities with India shortly after the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial, according to Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer.
The phase 1 trade deal with China marks positive momentum for U.S. grain commodities, however, bloated corn and soybean stocks still need more demand. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue says the next customer President Trump will target the fastest-growing country in the world, India.
“India… we’ve done frankly very little [with it] and we haven’t had the same trade relationships—there’s been a lot of barriers,” Perdue says. “I am hoping and I’m expecting that we can make some progress with India in agricultural products and trading relationships.”
The opportunity with India is massive and Perdue says he could see that trade relationship being as important as China over the next 20 years. In fact, India is outpacing China in terms of population growth, making it an increasingly important trade partner.
“White House sources tell Pro Farmer that Trump has made the decision to visit India and he wants to this month,” said Pro Farmer Policy Analyst Jim Wiesemeyer on Friday’s AgriTalk Radio Show. “[Timing] depends on the Senate trial going on. If not January [he’ll visit in] February.
“They will announce a mini trade agreement that will include access to U.S. produce and dairy products,” Wiesemeyer continued.
Specifically, India will ask the U.S. to roll back higher tariffs on steel and alumni in the deal, too. Wiesemeyer believes this deal will be secured faster than the U.S. China negotiations.
India denied market access to U.S. dairy products from 2003 to 2019, despite receiving preferential access to the U.S. market under a special duty-free trade arrangement called the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Over those years India cited a variety of shifting reasons as the basis for its illicit trade barriers, including unscientific restrictions on U.S. livestock feeding practices.
While milk production in India has jumped 35% over the past decade, climate will likely continue to present a challenge to Indian dairy farmers in coming years, according to a report by Niti Aayog an Indian think tank that warned drought and floods could limit future availability of animal feed and water. It's estimated 500 million animals in India are feed insecure.
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