German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said on Saturday that there has been some improvement in the trade relationship between the United States and Europe. But Kloeckner also added that the quantity of soybeans that Washington expects would be bought by the bloc cannot be guaranteed.
The threat of an immediate trade war between the Eu and the US were ended after a surprise agreement between the two parties following a meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body.
The benefits for the US farmers were highlighted by Trump after the meeting. “The European Union is going to start, almost immediately, to buy a lot of soybeans,” he told reporters.
The block is yet to determine the quantity of soy that would be imported, said Kloeckner.
“Will we be able to do whatever President Trump wishes for? I don’t know. Let’s see whether this will be the case or not,” she said.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued on July 12, in the 2018/19 crop year, 15.3 million tonnes of soybeans were expected to be imported by the EU. after Brazil, the US exports the second largest amount of the oilseed in the world.
Till such time that the European Union and the United States start deliberations on elimination of trade barriers, US would not impose the car tariffs, Trump agreed after Wednesday’s meeting at the White House.
Following the announcement by Trump of the $12 billion aid package aimed at creating a temporary boost for farmers and growers who had bene impacted by the escalating trade war between the United States and China, there was some back lash against the president tin the country particularly from some U.S. Midwestern farmers and lawmakers.
After the imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods, Chinese authorities also imposed levies on farm products from the US including soybeans as a retaliatory measure.
“A lot of U.S. farmers are currently under a lot of pressure caused primarily by the reactive tariffs and they are suffering a lot,” Kloeckner said.
“If you keep in mind that a lot of these farmers are supporters of President Trump, they have really felt the pressure. I think this has really helped Trump to understand that these tariffs can be potentially harmful and he has now reined in and we are moving towards a more positive situation,” she said.
The agreement reached between Trump and Juncker also caused some relief for other European officials.
“It’s a good thing for both the EU and the United States to have come together and agree to keep their conversation going, instead of seeing an exacerbation of the trade dispute,” Kloeckner added.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)