The wine industry descended on Capitol Hill this week in a last-ditch attempt to avert 100% tariffs on all EU wines — as well as cheeses, cosmetics and other consumer products.
Why it matters: The U.S. has declared its intention to impose these tariffs as retaliation against the way that European nations illegally subsidized Airbus. But if they go into effect, the brunt of the pain will be borne not by European companies, but by Americans.
The World Bank cut its global growth forecast for the fourth straight time on Wednesday, reducing expectations by 0.2 percentage points each year for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
"Global economic growth is forecast to edge up to 2.5% in 2020 as investment and trade gradually recover from last year’s significant weakness but downward risks persist. ... U.S. growth is forecast to slow to 1.8% this year, reflecting the negative impact of earlier tariff increases and elevated uncertainty."— World Bank statement on its Global Economic Prospects report
Even after a very tough year in which farm debt has risen, sales have declined and the prices of key exports like soybeans have plummeted, large-scale U.S. farmers remain upbeat on their prospects, a survey shows.
Driving the news: The latest results of the Purdue University and CME Group reading of the agriculture economy showed a slight decline in December, but that was down from an all-time high touched in November.
U.S. farmers have been given a bit of a lifeline by the "phase one" U.S.-China trade deal, but without concrete specifics on what China will purchase there remains some worry about how they will be able to support themselves and their farms in 2020.
Background: Farmers had a rough 2019, even with a hefty subsidy package provided to them by the Trump administration as relief from the trade war.
The Federal Reserve has released a study that found the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in 2018 led to higher prices and fewer manufacturing jobs.
The big picture: President Trump has ordered tariffs on a number of countries and a range of goods in a bid to protect manufacturers and correct what he sees as "unfair" trading practices — most notably in the United States' relationship with China.
Why it matters: Soybeans are China's largest U.S. import, but the country stopped purchasing them in the midst of a trade war spurred by U.S. tariffs. While specific details surrounding the "phase one" agreement have yet to be released, the portions unveiled earlier this month amount to little more than an agriculture purchase agreement, per Axios' Dan Primack.
Go deeper: China to cut import tariffs on 850 products
China is lowering import tariffs on more than 850 products, the country's finance ministry said in a statement Sunday night.
Driving the news: Goods to benefit from the Jan. 1 tariffs cuts include medication, tech and frozen pork — which could help China's meat shortages, driven by swine fever swine fever, Bloomberg reports.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a letter to a top Mexican trade negotiator Monday that the full-time diplomats, or attachés, designated to uphold labor standards in the version of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) sent to Congress are not "labor inspectors."
Why it matters: Mexico’s Undersecretary for North America Jesús Seade flew to Washington on Sunday to confront U.S. officials over the inclusion of language that would appoint attachés to implement labor reform in Mexico, accusing the Trump administration of blindsiding them. The intervention has thrown a wrench in the House's tentative plan to vote on the North American trade deal on Thursday.
The U.S. pork industry — whose commodity was among the hardest hit by China's retaliatory tariffs — breathed a sigh of cautious relief following news of a deal that winds down tensions between the U.S. and China.
Why it matters: The deal in theory is a reprieve for farmers, a key part of President Trump's base who have borne the brunt of the trade war. China's purchases of goods like soybeans and pork have waned in the nearly two-year battle — pushing rural America into a financial tailspin in an otherwise solid economy.
Two of the biggest constraints to the world economy — uncertainty about Brexit and the China trade war — were alleviated last week, Bloomberg reports.
Why it matters: With a "phase one" deal between U.S. and China staving off more tariffs and the United Kingdom now on pace to leave the European Union on Jan. 31, the outlook for global growth should be more positive in 2020 after being hampered by widespread uncertainty in 2019.