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Dry Bean Production Updates from China and Argentina

China:
An initial survey of China’s prospective dry bean planting reveals that production in 2020 is estimated to be down by 9% with total volume of 174,500 MT. Planting area is estimated down 9% with total sowing area of 110,400 hectares. Growers have been active planting light speckled kidney beans (LSKB), red speckled kidney beans (RSKB) and purple speckled kidney beans (PSKB) due to increased market demand. However, farmers have much less interest in growing black beans and white beans this year which have been basically been planted for export markets. As a result, sowing area for black beans has declined this year but the sowing area for LSKB, RSKB and PSKB is roughly at the same level as last year.
 
Argentina:
A late May frost damaged about 5% of the bean crop in some of the Argentine planting areas. Weather is expected to be good for the remaining harvest through the end of June. To date, quality is good for kidney beans and alubias and we are estimating increased production. Black beans will be mixed, due to the wider production area and frost damage. For cranberries, this was not a good year, and most beans available are small size and regular quality. The 2020 crop is already being shipped, especially black and LRK. Exporters are still cautious when it comes to offering alubias and kidneys, because beans are just getting to the processing facilities but exports are following a healthy pace to date.

Dry Bean Trade Policy Update

 
With so much going on in the world of trade policy for dry beans, the U.S. Dry Bean Council has provided a update:
 
China Phase One Agreement
A 5% reduction on dry bean retaliatory import duties to 38%, still not at levels previous to the ongoing trade dispute. We have also learned that Chinese importers can apply for an exemption to bring in U.S. dry beans at previous applied tariff rates.
 
US/UK Trade
Discussions continue on prospects for a US/UK trade agreement as the UK continues to define the terms of its trade regime during the transition Brexit year through the end of 2020. The UK government is holding a consultation period on its MFN tariff levels once Brexit is complete in 2021, this is open to comments through March 5, 2020.
 
US/EU Trade
There is renewed vigor to engage in trade discussions with the EU. Negotiations are starting up again behind the scenes while ongoing retaliatory tariffs remain in place.
 
CAFTA/DR
The CAFTA/DR trade agreement has reached full implementation for US Dry Beans. This means that all U.S. origin dry beans enter the Dominican Republic duty free with no limits on tonnage via TRQs. In many ways this opens the market to more bean imports from the U.S but it is also creating some roadblocks. We are addressing these with both the U.S. and DR governments to ensure full market access.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Dry Bean Programming

The primary concern with the outbreak of the coronavirus (CORVID-19) is the health and well being of U.S. Dry Bean Council staff and industry members. New travel and event restrictions are still being announced, with the greatest impact on China and other parts of Asia. Because China is such a large trading partner, the economic and health impacts of the virus are being felt around the world. Logistical slowdowns from some countries are reported on shipments of various goods into China and vice versa. No major developments have been identified on other shipments of food and agricultural commodities by USDBC representatives.
 
Food and Hotel Asia (Singapore), the largest international food show in Southeast Asia, originally scheduled for late March/early April has been postponed until July. However, Thaifex-ANUGA Asia 2020 in Bangkok remains on-track for May 28 – June 1. At ANUFOOD 2020, which is scheduled for March 9 – 11 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, large areas that are reserved for the Chinese delegation will be empty. No one is attending from China and the organizers are not allowing others to take that space. China is Brazil’s largest trading partner. Read more.

Phase One Trade Agreement Implementation Moving Forward

Following concerns that China may not follow through with the phase one trade deal, USDA says China has taken numerous actions to implement commitments to the U.S. In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the Trump administration negotiated a strong trade agreement with China and there are expectations with compliance on all elements of the deal. The phase one trade deal agreement went into effect in mid-February. Read the press release.

USMCA Overwhelmingly Passes in the Senate

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed out of the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming vote of 89-10 Thursday. For agriculture, USMCA is estimated to increase U.S. exports by $2 billion. The vote comes just one day after the United States signed a new trade agreement with China, which promises to increase ag exports by tens of billions of dollars. President Trump took to Twitter after the passage, saying “the farmers are really happy with the new China trade deal and the soon to be signed deal with Mexico and Canada.”
 
Now, the deal heads to President Trump for a signature. The president is expected to sign the agreement sometime next week during a formal ceremony. Mexico’s legislature approved the trade deal last month, and all eyes are on Canada to ratify USMCA. The Canadian parliament isn’t scheduled to return until January 27.
 

U.S. and China Sign Phase One of Trade Agreement

The U.S. and China have signed phase one of a trade agreement. President Donald Trump was joined by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House ceremony on Wednesday. “Today, we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China, toward future fair and reciprocal trade,” said President Trump in opening remarks. After the signing, the text of the agreement was released. All details are public expect for specific purchase amounts.
 
During the address, Trump verified the phase one agreement includes over $200 billion in Chinese purchases of American goods and services over the next two years. That includes at least $40 billion in food, agricultural and seafood products annually for a total of $80 billion in the next two years. The president also said he would remove all U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as the two countries completed phase two of the agreement, adding “I do no expect there to be a phase three.”
 

Trade Agreement is Closer to Signing

A phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China is expected to be signed within a matter of days. While President Trump and Chinese President Xi are expected to participate in a signing ceremony, details have not been announced. The South China Morning Post says Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will be in Washington, D.C. this Saturday and the trip is expected to continue into the middle of next week. In an interview with Chinese state television, China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said China will honor its commitments in the phase one trade agreement. However, the ambassador said the U.S. must respect China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.

U.S. and China Come to Agreement

 
The news of a trade deal between the U.S. and China started to unfold this past week. Chinese officials were vague in a press conference today on the details, but did confirm an agreement on the context of a phase one deal. This includes an increase in agricultural imports. A 25 percent tariff will remain in place, but the penalty tariffs originally set to go into effect Sunday, December 15 will not be charged. Negotiations on the phase two deal will begin immediately. Read more.

New Site Sought for U.S.-China Trade Deal Meeting

According to a tweet from President Donald Trump, the U.S. and China are trying to secure a new location to sign a tentative trade deal. President Trump and Chinese President Xi were expected to meet during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Chile, but that event was canceled due to ongoing protests. Trump said phase one is about 60 percent of the total trade agreement.

Chinese Dry Bean Production Pegged at 195,000 MT

China’s dry bean production for 2019 is estimated at 195,000 metric tons, with supplies of 221,000 MT.
Both planting and harvest area for black beans in China has been significantly reduced due to a conversion to soybeans and low market prices. The planting and harvest area for dark red kidney beans increased 35 percent from the previous year due to high domestic demand and decreased planting and harvest area in 2018. Market demand for high-grade (also called canned grade) DRK has been high. More exporters are prepared to switch their export business to import.