CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Local farmers hope a new trade deal with China is good news for their bottom lines after struggling through a nearly two year-long trade war between the nations.
As part of the deal, China agreed to lift the massive import tariffs it put on U.S. goods in 2018. The impact of those tariffs was especially tough on South Texas farmers.
"We've missed the export market that we had been accustomed to,” said Bobby Nedbalek.
For the last 22 months, Bobby Nedbalek's fields have been collateral damage from the trade war. In April 2018, China imposed a 179% percent tariff on U.S. sorghum. When that happened, Nedbalek lost his biggest customer.
“We've had to look for other places for those to go,” said Nebalek. “Likewise, China has been looking for other resources.”
But the future is looking better. Last month, the U.S. and China signed a new trade agreement, bringing the war to an end. As part of the deal, China agreed to buy $40-$50 billion worth of American agricultural products a year. Products like Nedbalek's sorghum.
“We can satisfy their demand,” said Nedbalek. “Not many places in the world can they find somebody that can supply that kind of availability.”
But some wonder if China will live up to its end of the deal.
“We don't have a good track record in the past few years,” said Texas A&M Corpus Christi Economics Professor, Dr. Jim Lee. “That's why this US-China trade resolution has been dragging on for so long.”
While both the U.S. and China have signed that new trade deal, it still needs to be ratified by congress to take effect.