Logan's Comments: No pain, no gain

During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, held in November 2017, President Donald Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about trade issues facing the two countries.

We hope everyone was able to have an enjoyable Independence Day and stayed safe through the week! It’s a great holiday to reflect on our nation’s history, the struggles for success, and ultimate independence and vitality that has lasted 242 years as an independent nation. Through the major wars and military conflicts, depressions and recessions, to surging markets and great success, this country has withstood countless obstacles and still remains the greatest place on this globe. The freedoms we have the right to live by can’t be found anywhere else.

It’s a success story like no other, but you wouldn’t know it by scanning headlines by those covering White House day-to-day events, especially with an overwhelmingly important mid-term election coming up in five months. As for me, I’m staying optimistic and trying to find the facts as they fall from the dust in the media air.

Undoubtedly, this country has been divided before. Abraham Lincoln’s famous “house divided” quote comes to mind. It is this foundation that I lean on for optimism in knowing this country will continue to prosper. As for where I stand—just right of center—in the nation’s population bell curve is where most of us stand. Regardless of political affiliation, most Americans lean just to the left or right of center. But we have to listen to the far left scream at the far right and vice versa.

Since November 2016 when President Donald Trump won the election, this country has seemed to divide itself more and more. The far left appears to lose their minds and use their basic constitutional rights to make outlandish claims and spread ideas. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to listen to an entire news broadcast. However, even with the unconventional ways Trump has dealt with issues, he seems to create a way to find success.

Global meat consumption is projected to be the highest it’s ever been and it’s obvious we want to be a global producer of meat. The market incentive is just too great not to. Of course, a lot of this growth in international meat consumption comes from the growing middle class in China, and growing incomes usually mean more meat on the table.

Last week, the U.S. Meat Export Federation released economic data centered on our export market in China. Currently estimated at a loss of $30 million, this trade deal could put losses in the billions, so I’m hoping Trump can hinge this so-called trade war and get to the bargaining table immediately. Striking a more favorable deal could be great news for our long-term beef markets. Currently, Australia is enjoying the front seat in the grain-fed beef market in China, but our infrastructure could take that position fairly easily if a trade deal is completed. This would add quite a bit to our current market, which has been quite solid going into the summer marketing months.

It’s an absurdly bold move to threaten trade wars with literally every major trade ally at the same time. The strategy is hard to see right now, so hopefully a successful plan comes to place in the near future, because a long-term strong market depends on it. Unfortunately, right now we are in a wait and see position. It is this hope that I cling to as tariff bantering goes back and forth with our major trade partners. It is hard to take a stance because Trump’s methods are so unconventional. I am sticking to the idea of “short-term pains with long-term gains” will play out in America’s favor, but as for right now, with China imposing major tariffs on our beef product, I’m nervously optimistic a deal will get done soon. I lean on the recent and unprecedented face-to-face negotiations with North Korea as my evidence something positive can happen soon.

The prize for a more favorable trade agreement with China is too vast not to strike a deal, in my opinion. Even without China’s markets completely opened up, U.S. beef exports have seen steadily positive numbers globally. At levels reaching from 10-20 percent gains in various major markets, U.S. beef is continuing to see strong growth without China.

The next five months are going to be a whirlwind of political hostility. The need to maintain a majority for the Republicans will depend on each positive outcome, while there are several major arguments Democrats are going to use against them. It’s nothing new, but I’m sure the White House feels the urgency to get positive news in the headlines, so perhaps a trade agreement will be in this fold and our beef markets will reap the benefit. — LOGAN IPSEN

WLJ Fieldman

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