Trump White House Presses Threat to Close U.S.-Mexico Border this Week
The Washington Post – 03/31/2019
The White House doubled down Sunday on President Trump’s threat to close the U.S. border with Mexico, despite warnings that the move would inflict immediate economic damage on American consumers and businesses while doing little to stem a tide of migrants clamoring to enter the United States. Sealing the border with Mexico, America’s third-largest trading partner, would disrupt supply chains for major U.S. automakers, trigger swift price increases for grocery shoppers and invite lawsuits against the federal government, according to trade specialists and business executives. “First, you’d see prices rise incredibly fast. Then . . . we would see layoffs within a day or two,” said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in Nogales, Ariz. “This is not going to help border security.”
Ag Groups to Trump: Don’t Shut Down Trade with Mexico
Agri-Pulse – 04/01/2019
Farm groups expressed alarm Monday at President Donald Trump’s renewed threats to shut down the southern border, which could cripple trade with Mexico, an irreplaceable market for billions of dollars of milk, ham, rice, potatoes and corn. USDA data show the U.S. shipped about $19 billion worth of ag products to Mexico in 2018 and a loss that big would be catastrophic for a farm sector already reeling from depressed prices. “We are at the breaking point and cannot afford a total loss of the Mexican market, one that accounted for more than 20 percent of total U.S. pork exports last year,” says David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council. Trump, speaking to reporters Friday, railed against new “caravans” of migrants and the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico. He threatened to shut down the border completely and stressed, “It could be to all trade.” Trump has threatened to shut down the border before, but concern this time around was heightened after White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney took to Sunday talk shows to back up the president’s threat.
Global Trade Growth Loses Momentum as Trade Tensions Persist
WTO – 04/02/2019
World trade will continue to face strong headwinds in 2019 and 2020 after growing more slowly than expected in 2018 due to rising trade tensions and increased economic uncertainty. WTO economists expect merchandise trade volume growth to fall to 2.6% in 2019 — down from 3.0% in 2018. Trade growth could then rebound to 3.0% in 2020; however, this is dependent on an easing of trade tensions. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: “With trade tensions running high, no one should be surprised by this outlook. Trade cannot play its full role in driving growth when we see such high levels of uncertainty. It is increasingly urgent that we resolve tensions and focus on charting a positive path forward for global trade which responds to the real challenges in today’s economy – such as the technological revolution and the imperative of creating jobs and boosting development. WTO members are working to do this and are discussing ways to strengthen and safeguard the trading system.
U.S. Winter Wheat Seen Rated 55 Percent Good to Excellent
Reuters – 04/01/2019
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) first weekly crop progress report for 2019 should show that the U.S. winter wheat crop is in better shape than a year ago, according to a survey of 10 analysts on Monday. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast on average that the USDA would rate 55 percent of the winter wheat crop as good to excellent. A year earlier, the USDA rated 32 percent of the crop in good to excellent condition…Crop ratings for states that grow hard red winter wheat, such as Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, should be better than ratings for states producing soft red winter wheat, several analysts said. Soft red winter wheat, used for cookies and crackers, is grown in the southern Midwest and the Mississippi River Delta.
Next Columbia River Treaty Negotiations this Month
Capital Press – 04/01/2019
Negotiators from Canada and the U.S. will meet again April 10-11 in Victoria, British Columbia, to discuss the future of the Columbia River Treaty. The negotiations follow five previous rounds that began last year. The most recent round was Feb. 27-28 in Washington, D.C. Negotiators discussed U.S. priorities, including continued flood prevention, maintaining a reliable and economical power supply and ecosystem improvement, according to a U.S. Department of State representative, speaking on background. “While we cannot get into the specifics of the meetings, we can say that our conversations have been productive and we are working together to modernize the treaty regime in a way that benefits both countries,” the representative told the Capital Press. Negotiations are not open to the public or the press. “We need to ensure a negotiating environment with Canada in which we can have frank conversations,” the representative said.
Source: U.S. Wheat Associates