There May Be No Going Back from the China Trade War

02:18PM Aug 05, 2019
US China Trade War
US and China square off in trade dispute
( MGN )

Commodity markets are off to a turbulent start this week following the escalation in trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The Dow posted a more than 700 point drop, while many of the major grains and livestock markets started the day lower before ultimately seeing many contracts close in the green to end Monday. 

During a recent interview with AgDay's Clinton Griffiths, Mark Gold of Top Third Ag Marketing said its getting to hard see any room for a deal to be done.

"There doesn't seem to be an incentive for the Chinese to do anything before the election," says Gold. "They seem to want to wait it out and hope that there's a Democrat that might give them a better deal." 

Gold says whether that happens is anyone's guess at this point, but history tells him the tariffs strategy is a hard way to go.

"The fact of the matter is, we've tried these tariffs, we've tried embargoes, all other kinds of things to try to either punish people or to change the dynamics of a political situation," says Gold. "When [President] Carter put the embargo in place on the Russians, all we did was turn our biggest customer into one of our biggest competitors and I believe we're seeing the same thing."

Gold says China will still need soybeans, but he anticipates they'll either buy them from other places or grow them at home. 

"There was a Chinese delegation in Argentina these past few days, looking to buy Argentinian meal, which they've never bought before," says Gold.  "We're forcing the Chinese to look at other markets or grow their own soybeans and ultimately that hurts us here."

He echoes what many have said about bringing China into modern trade standards adding he understands what President Trump is trying to do. He's always just been a fan of free trade. 

"We don't have free trade with the Chinese but, the fact of the matter is, it seems to me that a lot of this is on the back of the American farmer," says Gold. "We see it in the rising rates of farm bankruptcies, we see it in depressed farm prices and guys having a tough time making a living out here and there's nothing being done."

Gold says the golden days of China buying a majority of its farm goods from the U.S. may be over. 
"Well, I think once you open up that can of worms it's open," says Gold. "It's a mess and it's the American farmer that's really getting hurt from all of this."

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