trade

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Kansas’ first regional export plan helped hundreds of companies in the Wichita area enter new international markets during the past four years.

Courtesy of Wichita State University

Usha Haley is the W. Frank Barton distinguished chair in international business at Wichita State University and an expert on of trade with China.

Her research on Chinese subsidies and trade with China is incorporated into trade regulations for the United States, the European Union and several other countries.

After this month’s phase one trade agreement between the U.S. and China was signed, she talked with Tom Shine and The Range about what the agreement contains, what impact it might have locally and what’s next.

The interview was edited for length and clarity.

During 2019, the curveballs thrown at farmers began with the partial government shutdown in January, when some U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies were closed. Spring brought a storm system—called a bomb cyclone—that dumped rain on top of frozen fields unable to make use of it, kicking off weeks of flooding exacerbated by additional precipitation. Planting ran later than usual and some farmers never got a cash crop into certain saturated fields.

U.S. farmers have long depended on foreign buyers for some of their corn, soybeans, pork and other products. And federal officials have used some agricultural commodities as tools of diplomacy for decades.

But as the Trump administration has pursued hard-line moves with major trading partners, especially China, farmers have found themselves with huge surpluses — and on the receiving end of government aid.

The U.S. trade war with China, now approaching a year, is often framed as hurting manufacturing and agriculture the most. But that’s mainly collateral damage in an international struggle over power and technology that has its roots in the Cold War, when China was still considered a largely undeveloped country.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

It’s morning. You pull out your favorite box of cereal and pour it into a bowl. Then you go to your fridge to grab the milk, only to find that the jug is practically empty.

After you mutter a few unrecognizable words, you toss the milk container into your recycle bin and move on to finding something else to eat. We’ve all been there.

While you’ll likely never think about that plastic milk jug again, its journey into a complex system of waste has only just begun.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State and a former Kansas congressman from Wichita, spoke about some of the key issues he is dealing with as the country’s leader of foreign policy during a brief interview Thursday with KMUW. 

Farmers and agriculture groups are digging through the details of the new North American trade deal, called the United States Canada Mexico Agreement, and some are raising concerns that clash with the celebratory mood of the three countries’ leaders.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Trade was at the top of the agenda at Thursday's 4th Congressional District candidate forum in Pratt.

Republican incumbent Ron Estes and Democratic candidate James Thompson spoke on health care, immigration and taxes — they don't agree on any of those issues — but many of the forum’s questions focused on trade and tariffs.

President Donald Trump has reached a tentative trade deal with Mexico, and now the focus of tariff talks shifts to Canada.

It’s a high-stakes situation for Kansas industry because Canada is the top export market for the state.

Kansas exports totaled more than $11 billion in 2017, led by agricultural products, aircraft and airplane parts. Nearly $2.5 billion of those exports went to Canada. The other partner in the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico, was the second biggest market for Kansas exports, at nearly $2 billion.

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