‘Long Way To Go, Short Time To Get There’: China Will Attempt The Impossible With Farm Purchases

Less than two days after America read excerpts from John Bolton’s controversial memoir, which, among other things, alleges that Donald Trump specifically linked Chinese purchases of US farm goods to the 2020 election during a conversation with Xi Jinping, China is poised to ramp up buying of “everything from soybeans to corn and ethanol”.

That’s according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg.

Mike Pompeo’s meeting with Politburo Member Yang Jiechi at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii this week was shrouded in secrecy, but America’s top diplomat did tweet about it. (Because that’s the kind of world we live in — foreign policy announcements are delivered via tweet, sometimes with a warning label from Twitter advising the public to be wary of the message).

That is blatant campaigning from Pompeo, and you can color me skeptical about the feasibility of China “completing” its commitments under the “phase one” trade deal.

The pandemic obviously knocked the deal off track, and analysts generally doubt it’s possible for China to make up the difference in the back half of the year. Or at least with regard to every category of purchases. The figures, from BofA, show just how Herculean a task that would be.


Some experts say the deal is “toast” and was never realistic in the first place, let alone following the pandemic, which hurt domestic demand in China.

Rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies over a variety of issues including human rights, Hong Kong democracy and virus recrimination, are seen making cooperation more difficult still.

And yet, according to Bloomberg’s sources, which it did not name, Beijing will at least attempt to hit the farm goods target, which calls for China to buy $36.5 billion worth of agriculture product, $12.5 billion more than the 2017 baseline used for the deal.

“A separate person said the Chinese government has asked state-owned agricultural buyers to make all efforts to meet the phase one agreement”, Bloomberg goes on to say.

To be clear, China is nowhere near meeting the farm goods target. Although the Chinese economy has recovered quickly, consumption hasn’t stabilized as rapidly as manufacturing.

Somehow, China is expected to bridge the gap between the blue and orange bars in the figure by December. Beijing is just 13% of the way to meeting its commitments for 2020 on farm purchases.

Currently, orders are running 40% below the pace from 2017, which is the base year for the agreement.

Trump needs this for the election, something he apparently emphasized to Xi in person — at least if you believe Bolton, who Pompeo called a “traitor” this week.

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’
Oh, we gonna do what they say can’t be done
We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there…


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12 thoughts on “‘Long Way To Go, Short Time To Get There’: China Will Attempt The Impossible With Farm Purchases

    1. Don’t forget to mention Chinese supertrawlers stripping ocean fisheries. But then, can you blame the Chinese for wanting to feed their citizens?

      1. The Chinese has adopted the bad habit of consumerism from the West…

        The silver living is that the marvel of the one child policy has set off an irreversible cycle of population shrinkage without having to resort to any sort of war or faminine

  1. I was “happy” to get some vindication from Bolton’s memoir. I often would ask “Why does Trump care about the Uighers? They are Muslims. The base hates Muslims! ” (Commence eyerolling.)

    It turns out I was right! Bolton confirmed my “fringe” theory.

  2. Well if Bolton were a liar by lying in his book, he would not be a traitor. Since liar in chief called him a liar, I am prone to go with Traitor.

    Then the question becomes, if he is a traitor, what is he betraying?

  3. The distribution world wide of Agricultural products is likely to be a zero some game going forward … This is partly due to the Corona Virus created shortages judging by Supply / Demand considerations as well as pricing observable here in the US… Political considerations (reelection posturing ) will lose in this tug of war .

  4. If it’s not due to climate change , it soon will be. And if China is so anxious to honor it’s buying commitments you have to wonder what the trade off is. What is trump willing to let China get away with?? Clamping down on Hong Kong and not saying anything?? How about Taipei?? Relaxing his view on Huawei?? Giving the Chinese Navy uncontested ownership of the East China Sea?? Makes you wonder who the real traitor is??

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