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China & N. Korea

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block.

Priority government issues of the day would have to be trade negotiations with China and President Trump’s meeting with N. Korea leader Kim Jong-un.

Our Ag industry has been hurt because China stopped buying our products when President Trump imposed tariffs on a long list of Chinese exports.  He did that because China’s trade policies are not fair.  Someone needed to pressure China to clean up their act.

Serious top-level talks are in process this week.  A positive outcome will do more to help lift our farmers and ranchers than any other single thing.  After two bad years, and the 2019 projections are not good, we need a lift.  President Trump knows this.  He also knows that with the Presidential election coming up in less than two years, he needs a victory. 

President Trump has postponed any increase in new tariffs as talks continue.  I expect to see a big jump in our sales to China as a final trade deal is hammered out the sooner the better. 

Issue number 2 – President Trump is in Vietnam this week-not a vacation.  He is meeting with “little rocket man” Kim Jong-un.  We hear all this nice friendly talk, but whether N. Korea will back off from nuclear weapons is questionable.  The fact that they are meeting in Vietnam just might suggest to the N. Korean leader that his country might want to get on the road to prosperity and success that Vietnam chose after the war with U.S.

North Korea is impoverished, while Vietnam has a thriving economy with its business industry booming.  Its economy is growing at 7%.  Vietnam is still communist, but with a market economy, the country has global respect.  Compare that to N. Korea –  all they have that might get your attention is their military marching.  With all kinds of trade restriction on N. Korea and other countries thriving like S. Korea next door.  You might think Mr. Kim would be smart enough to give up his nukes and join the family of nations.  Let’s hope President Trump can convince him to do that.

John Block was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill.  If you would like to review his radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to

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