Tag Archives: President Trump

Trade talks between the U.S. and China this week should provide an early indication as to what political tensions between the two nations may disrupt the talks.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeff Gerrish will meet with Chinese officials in Beijing to begin discussing measures the U.S. seeks to allow the current trade war end between the two. If the talks are favorable to the U.S., Politico reports that could lead to higher level talks with higher ranking officials. The U.S. has set a March deadline for China to agree to trade policy reforms.

Meanwhile, China is opening access to its economy back to the United States through purchases of U.S. agricultural products. The state of the Chinese economy is seen as dire by some analysts, which could be a motivation to seek an end to the trade war. However, it remains unclear what specific demands the Trump administration will make and if China deems them reasonable or not.

CHICAGO /PRNewswire/ — School nutrition programs will have more flexibility in areas related to serving flavored milk and whole grains under a final rule released this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The rule also allows more time for schools to reach sodium reduction targets.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognizes some school districts need additional flexibility to meet improved school nutrition standards provided by this rule. However, the Academy remains committed to strong nutrition standards for school meals that children want to eat and that Academy members have worked hard to implement.

“Registered dietitian nutritionists have demonstrated that making positive changes to improve the nutrition quality of meals served in schools is not only possible, the changes are acceptable and even desired by students,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Mary Russell. “While schools in some areas may choose to make programmatic changes in foods that are served, the Academy encourages those that have already successfully adopted the higher standards to maintain them.”

Nine out of ten children consume high levels of sodium, which studies show may increase their risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. The Academy strongly supports reducing students’ overconsumption of sodium, but recognizes the merits of a slower approach that allows more time for reformulating products and for students’ palates to adapt to changes. The Academy looks forward to new sodium Dietary Reference Intake values from the National Academies, which should be factored into future school nutrition standards.

“The Academy has been working on this issue with national stakeholders and has submitted comments throughout the rulemaking process. We will continue to advocate for safe, nutritious meals for children in schools,” Russell said.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is celebrating the 90-day truce it reached in its trade war with China as a significant breakthrough despite scant details, a hazy timetable and widespread skepticism that Beijing will yield to U.S. demands anytime soon.

“This is just an enormous, enormous event,” Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, said Monday of the cease-fire that Trump and President Xi Jingping reached over the weekend on the sidelines of an international economic summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “This one covers so much ground in some detail, we’ve never seen this before.”

Yet many economists raised doubts that very much could be achieved within three months.

“The actual amount of concrete progress made at this meeting appears to have been quite limited,” Alec Phillips and other economists at Goldman Sachs wrote in a research note.

During the talks in Buenos Aires, Trump agreed to delay a scheduled escalation in U.S. tariffs on many Chinese goods, from 10% to 25%, that had been set to take effect Jan. 1. Instead, the two sides are to negotiate over U.S. complaints about China’s trade practices, notably that it has used predatory tactics to try to achieve supremacy in technology. These practices, according to the administration and outside analysts, include stealing intellectual property and forcing companies to turn over technology to gain access to China’s market.

In return for the postponement in the higher U.S. tariffs, China agreed to step up its purchases of U.S. farm, energy and industrial goods, the White House said.

Most economists noted that the two countries remain far apart on the biggest areas of disagreement, which include Beijing’s subsidies for strategic Chinese industries, in addition to forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft.

“Ninety days is very little time to fix these perennial issues,” said Bill Adams, senior economist at PNC.

Complicating the challenge, Trump’s complaints strike at the heart of the Communist Party’s state-led economic model and its plans to elevate China to political and cultural leadership by creating global champions in robotics and other fields.

“It’s impossible for China to cancel its industry policies or major industry and technology development plans,” said economist Cui Fan of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

At the same time, analysts said they were relieved that the Trump-Xi meeting at least pressed the “pause” button on tariff hikes. Besides escalating existing tariffs, Trump had threatened to impose import taxes on the remaining $267 billion of U.S. goods from China. This would have raised prices in the United States on many consumer items, including smartphones, clothes and toys.

Fears of a hotter trade war had sent financial markets tumbling in October and November. But they jumped Monday in response to Saturday’s truce. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 288 points, a gain of 1.1%.

Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife, said the market’s recent decline had likely contributed to Trump’s willingness to reach a truce.

“We are no longer in the same buoyant economic or markets environment that we enjoyed earlier this year when threats of tariffs against China were first made,” she said.

In the meantime, the outlines of the agreement remain hazy and in some cases confusing. Trump tweeted late Sunday that China had agreed to “reduce and remove” its 40% tariff on cars imported from the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that there was a “specific agreement” on the auto tariffs.

Yet Kudlow said later that there was no “specific agreement” regarding auto trade, though he added, “We expect those tariffs to go to zero.”

Shares of U.S. and overseas auto companies rose on the announcement, though it’s unclear how much companies like GM or Ford will actually benefit. Nearly all the cars they sell in China are made there.

Details regarding China’s pledge to buy more American products — one that it has made before — remain scant. Mnuchin said Monday morning on CNBC that China had offered to buy up to $1.2 trillion of additional U.S. goods, even while the “details of that still need to be negotiated.”

But Kudlow said the ultimate amount will depend on market prices and the health of China’s economy.

“I would think of that as a broad goal,” he said.

State-run Chinese media has described the agreement very differently from how the Trump administration has. It has made no mention of any changes to its auto tariffs. And it has said nothing about a 90-day deadline for the talks.

Greene said this might simply reflect China’s communications strategy. Or it might illustrate China’s weak commitment to the deal.

China agreed to eliminate the retaliatory tariffs it had placed on U.S. soybeans, according to the White House, which also said Beijing had agreed to buy an unspecified but “very substantial” amount of agricultural and other products. That left some U.S. farmers cautiously hopeful Monday.

“This is the first positive news we’ve seen after months of downturned prices and halted shipments,” said John Heisdorffer, a farmer in Keota, Iowa, who is president of the American Soybean Association. “If this suspension of tariff increases leads to a longer-term agreement, it will be extremely positive for the soy industry.”

Kevin Scott, who farms near Valley Springs, South Dakota, and serves on the American Soybean Association, said the news provides hope for farmers who are storing their crops while awaiting better prices. But he cautioned that “it’s going to take a little more to move more beans.”

Among the skeptics is Scott Gauslow, who grows soybeans and corn near Colfax in eastern North Dakota’s Red River Valley. He noted the lack of specifics in the White House announcement.

“What if China calls tomorrow and says, ‘We changed our mind’?” Gauslow said. “There was nothing in writing, which scares me a little bit.”

China is the top market for North Dakota’s soybeans. The state’s farmers sell about $1.4 billion to China annually, according to the nonprofit North Dakota Trade Office.

Some retailers were also encouraged by the agreement, according to the National Retail Federation. At the same time, the federation noted that the truce prolongs the uncertainty around trading with China.

Jonathan Gold, an executive at the federation, said most retailers had already ordered goods for the first three months of the year, so the 90-day delay in the tariff hikes won’t affect them. Many companies have already switched their purchases from China to another country to avoid the potential 25% tariff.

“The question is, what happens at the end of 90 days?” Gold asked.