The phrase ‘that’s so last week’ is supposed to be ironic, but it’s an apt description for the ongoing whirlwind of trade measures coming out of the Oval Office.
Since ordering tariffs of 25 per cent on US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods in early April, U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered more tariffs on an additional $100 billion of Chinese exports to his country; told Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to find a way to compensate soybean and pork farmers hurt by China’s counter tariffs on their products; praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for offering to open up his country to more U.S. imports; and attacked China (and Russia) for playing “the currency devaluation game” to undermine American competitiveness.
During the same period, the American president has also apparently told his trade officials to make concessions to save NAFTA and also explore re-entering the trans-Pacific trade deal — despite calling the former “the worst trade deal ever” and pulling out of the latter in one of his first official acts after taking office.
It’s hard for even full-time Washington watchers to keep up, but all of these developments — as well as whatever comes down the road in the coming months — have implications for farmers on both sides of the border. The two stories below are compilations of several reports from staff and news agencies.