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Perdue: U.S. Wants China to Be a Customer
USAgNet - 05/13/2019

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wants China to be a customer of American farm products, even after Washington hiked tariffs on more than $200 billion in Chinese goods, and said retaliation by Beijing would prompt the U.S. to boost support to its farmers.

“Our biggest goal will be for China not to retaliate and stay at the table to negotiate a good deal,” Perdue told Bloomberg News on Sunday, adding the U.S. will respond if China retaliates.

According to Bloomberg, President Donald Trump said on Friday the U.S. will boost its purchases of domestic farm products for humanitarian aid in an effort to offset lost demand from China as trade tensions flare.

Perdue said he is working carefully on a plan and will submit it to the president within “a few days to a couple of weeks."

Trump said on Twitter the U.S. will use money coming in from the tariffs to buy American agricultural products “in larger amounts than China ever did” and send it to “poor & starving countries” for humanitarian aid. The president indicated potential purchases of $15 billion from farmers.

Perdue said the implementation of the program will take time, as the U.S. has a large stockpile of grain and oilseed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its closely watched monthly crop outlook on Friday, issuing the first guidance on supply and demand for the upcoming season, and forecast rising domestic stockpiles.

Soybeans posted their biggest weekly loss in more than eight months in the week through May 10 as the USDA report exceeded analysts’ estimates for oilseed stocks. Corn also slumped as U.S. inventories were projected to swell to the most since the 1987-1988 season, Bloomberg reports.

Trump said on Saturday it would be wise for China to “act now” to finish a trade deal with the U.S., predicting that “far worse” terms would be on offer after what he predicted would be his certain re-election in 2020.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the administration would on Monday release details of its plans for tariffs on an extra $300 billion of imports from China, setting the process in motion for Trump to deliver on his threat to hammer all Chinese trade.

The U.S. hiked tariffs on more than $200 billion in goods from China on Friday in the most dramatic step yet of Trump’s push to extract trade concessions, deepening a conflict that has roiled financial markets and cast a shadow over the global economy.

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