Tag Archives: China

U.S. Warns China About Australia Clash

The Biden administration warned China Tuesday that the United States would not “leave Australia alone on the field” in its ongoing economic clash with Beijing.

China and Australia have been at odds since 2017, first when parliament outlawed foreign political donations in order to stem Chinese influence in Canberra, and later when Australia locked Chinese tech giant Huawei out of its 5G network.

Beijing responded by imposing a series of punishing tariffs and limits on a range of imports from Australia including coal, wine, barley, live seafood, beef and timber.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner by far, with bilateral trade growing from $132 billion in 2014-15 to $231 billion for 2019-20. Australia is also one of the few countries to maintain a trade surplus with China, with Canberra exporting $150 billion to China against $81 billion in imports.

To date, the United States has not intervened in the standoff. The issue did not play a role in former President Donald Trump’s policy vis-à-vis China.

But speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald ahead of a meeting between American and Chinese officials, who are scheduled to convene in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18, Kurt Campbell, President Biden’s point man for the Indo-Pacific region said the new administration would link its China policy with Beijing’s treatment of U.S. allies.

“We have made clear that the U.S. is not prepared to improve relations in a bilateral and separate context at the same time that a close and dear ally is being subjected to a form of economic coercion,” Campbell told the newspaper on March 16.

Last year, Britain’s The Guardian reported that sanctions have cost the Australian economy $19 billion, but predicted that the number could grow to $28 billion if travel by Chinese nationals to Australia does not rebound after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

China Joins International Effort to Bring COVID Vaccine to World’s Neediest

China is the latest country to add its signature to a global effort to make sure that when a coronavirus vaccine is finally developed and ready for distribution, it will be given to the neediest people around the world.

Know as the COVAX initiative, it is sponsored by the World Health Organization and has signed up 157 countries. The WHO hopes the program will ensure that 2 billion doses of this life-saving vaccine will be made available to those most in need, no matter where they live, by the end of 2021.

“We have solemnly pledged to make vaccines developed and deployed by China a global public good, which will be provided to developing countries as a priority,” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, wrote on Twitter.

This is an about-face for China, which originally bowed out from joining COVAX. China is currently developing four vaccines that are in clinical trials. One of them, according to Wu Guizhen, chief biosafety expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, should be ready to be used on the general population sometime in November. President of China, Xi Jinping promised back in May that he would make any Chinese vaccine available for “the global good.” At that time Xi also pledged $2 billion to WHO, making China the organization’s largest donor.

In early September, the United States announced its decision to stay away from the COVAX initiative, stating that:

“We will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said at the time.

Discussions Lead to Chinese Mega Soybean Purchase

As a result of high-level trade talks a week ago, China has agreed to purchase 600,000 tons of soybeans grown in the USA. As a result of the purchase, the price of soybean futures in the US climbed by more than 1 percentage point on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybeans. Photo courtesy CSIRO


The deal will result in the shipment of about 10 boatloads of soybeans, which will be spaced over the time period between October and December, all heading off to Chinese shores.


The announcement about the soybean purchase came on the heels of the bad news that Chinese trade officials had cancelled a scheduled visit to US farm states. Except for this one decision, trade talks had proceeded positively. More negotiations between the US and China are scheduled for October has the trade war between the two powerful global economies continues.


In early September this year a Chinese state news agency reported that some farm products, pork and soybeans, were no longer subject to additional tariff increases. The announcement helped to reduce tensions between the trading partners and make way for the recent soybean deal.

California Rice Grower Signs Deal to Sell Rice to China

After trying for 15 years to break into the Chinese rice market, a 100-year old family business based in Sacramento has cut a deal to sell its rice in China. In July, Sun Valley Rice became the first US company to sell its rice in China.


“China has been tough to get into because for many years it was illegal to sell our rice there,” said Betsy Ward, president of USA Rice, a national trade association.


Until a 2018 agreement was forged between the US and China, it was illegal for the US to sell rice to China. When that law was lifted over 25 US companies were approved to sell their rice to China. Sun Valley became the first to make a deal.


“We would travel regularly to China to research [the market], attend trade shows and meet the industry players,” said Ken LaGrande, who founded Sun Valley Rice with his father Michael in 2000. “It was a commitment we made as a family to persist. So when the opportunity opened up, we were ready.”


The LeGrande Family has been producing rice in the Sacramento Valley since the 1920s LaGrande’s great-grandfather saw that the area’s climate, water supply, and soil was correctly proportioned to perfectly grow rice. Over the years the family incorporated other parts of rice production into their business, including drying and milling. This business became the LaGrande Family Foods Group. Now the Group is composed of many different operations, including farming, sprouting rice and milling sake.

Rice fields north of the City of Sacramento. Photo Courtesy of Mark Miller.


Almost 20 years ago, in 2000, LaGrand and his father Michael saw an increased market demand for high quality, specialized rice. That is when Sun Valley Rice was born.


“Sun Valley Rice now is a fully integrated arm of the family business, ‘from farm to fork’ if you will,” said LaGrande. “We source rice from 200 farms, or about 10% of the rice crop gown in California. And we handle drying, milling, packaging and marketing of the rice.”


It is likely other rice growers will also land deals to sell their rice in China.


“We have the first sale. But we really hope there will be strong continuing demand for American rice in China, and that allows, in turn, more opportunity for farmers back in California,” LeGrande said.

Wine Consumption Growing Around the World

Image by Sharad Jadvani from Pixabay

According to the most recent Vinexpo/IWSR wine and spirits report, the world is expected to consume US $207 billion by the year 2022, drinking approximately 2.7 billion 9-liter cases. That represents growth in the industry of 2.15% between the years 2017 and 2022.
Due to the recent practice to “drink less but better,” value has out-paced volume in growth all over the world. This is especially true in North, South and Central America as well as in the Asia-Pacific region.


The United States is still the world’s most valuable market for wine with a value of US$34.8 billion in 2017. After the US France is rated the second most lucrative market worth about US$16 billion. China comes in at a close third with US$ 16.5 billion in sales.


Vinepress forecasts the China will overtake France as the second largest consumer of wine by the year 2020, with a value of over US$19 billion.


The top five markets for volume of sales did not seem to change in the last year with
• USA sold 318 million cases
• Italy sold 266 million
• France sold 250 million
• Germany 224 million
• China 156 million