U.S. negotiators are pushing for China to increase its imports of U.S. agriculture commodities by about $25 billion, which would more than double the roughly $20 billion the country now buys annually, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Wednesday.
President Donald Trump is demanding the additional $25 billion in U.S. ag exports to China, Perdue said, but also cautioned that it couldn’t happen immediately. The two countries would need between two and five years to ramp up trade to that level, Perdue told a gathering of reporters.
Representatives of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service have been “intimately involved” in recent U.S.-China trade talks and will be accompanying Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross when he leads a negotiating team to Beijing as soon as next week.
The last talks were in Washington and the two countries announced that China was willing to increase its imports of U.S. farm commodities.
“Both sides agreed on meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports,” the countries said in a joint statement.
“There are several commodities … we’re capable of selling a lot more of to China,” Perdue told a gathering of reporters and rattled off a list that included rice, corn, poultry, soybeans and distiller’s dried grains.
Perdue said the assignment of the FAS team that will accompany Ross is to “try to tie down the details of these negotiations.”
Relations between the U.S. and China are still tense, but there are signs the situation is improving. China last week announced it was scrapping its 179 percent anti-dumping duty on U.S. sorghum.
China continues to levy tariffs on U.S. pork, almonds, oranges, wine and other commodities in t retaliation to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. China is also threatening a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans in response to a U.S. plan to hit the Asian nation with tariffs to punish it for intellectual property theft.
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