Progress continues to be made on establishing a Chinese trade deal, as negotiators from the U.S. and China continue their discussions. American farmers and ranchers have had concerns surrounding the type of impact a trade agreement would have and how long it will take for the agriculture industry to regain ground that was lost during the trade dispute. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressed optimism that farmers would benefit almost immediately if a deal were to be reached.
“I think the numbers that we are looking at and discussing with China on purchase numbers will be very, very good and we think it will be multiples of what they’ve done in the past. It will be very good for American agriculture,” said Perdue. “The message to China is, ‘You’re already importing these products, why not import them from us and help with the trade deficit we have with your country?’”
Perdue also noted that both he and President Donald Trump believe that agricultural sales to China would increase almost instantly if the two sides were to come to an agreement. Earlier in the year, China released a report that 2018 was the weakest year for growth in 28 years amidst a decline in domestic demand and trade tensions with the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated the U.S. may be on the verge of a decision with regards to a Chinese trade deal with negotiations set to continue.
“The discussions remain focused toward making substantial progress on important structural issues and rebalancing the U.S.-China trade relationship,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The talks will continue next week when Vice Premier Liu He returns for meetings in Washington starting on May 8th.”
The U.S. agriculture industry remains hopeful that a compromise can be reached soon, particularly after the announcement that the Trump administration is not planning for another round of aid payments for farmers. “As these trade negotiations go longer and prices remain low, we will look at that as we go forward. But we don’t want to raise expectations that anything’s under consideration at this point,” said Perdue.