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2019 Autumn - Disruptions in agricultural trade

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FPJ1601G - Young, B (2019), The changing trade positions of the United States

FPJ1601G - Young, B (2019), The changing trade positions of the United States, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, Autumn 2019, pp. 34-44, Surry Hills, Australia.

Changes to United States (US) trade policy have prompted global concern over potential disruptive effects. For several decades, the US has played a leading role in promoting international trade. China, however, remains a major challenge in this new trade world. While the implications of market disruption associated with the Chinese market are clearly significant, the implications are not limited to China alone. Continued disagreements with the European Union as well as several other Asian nations still disrupt historical trade patterns. How those market shifts occur will impact the ways Australian agriculture may adjust, internally and internationally.
The dispute with China is likely to confuse global agricultural markets for some time to come, and this confusion will create opportunities for Australian agriculture. While the overall grain and oilseed markets may provide some potential gains for Australia, bulk commodity production may not be the best utilisation of Australia’s agricultural focus.
For example, trade agreements with Japan give the Australian livestock sector significant advantages over the US in pork and beef, and Australia will have access to the Vietnamese market the US lacks because of the withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Should the dispute between the US and China continue, Australia is probably best positioned to provide some of the higher-valued animal proteins – and should Australia establish supply chains with Chinese clients before the US works through these trade disputes, the long-term gains seem obvious.

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