U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is reporting "substantial progress" has been made in trade talks with China. The two sides wrapped up two days of trade talks in Washington.
President Trump is striking an optimistic tone, saying "we're going to have a great trade deal". He met with Chinese-Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office on Thursday following those talks. An interpreter read a letter to President Trump from Chinese leader Xi Jinping. In that letter, the Chinese leader talked about purchases of U.S. agriculture product.
President Trump emphasized that China will be increasing soybean purchases. He calls that "music" to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's ears. President Trump went on to say, "that's going to make our farmers very happy".
How much will China buy? That is still open to debate. "The Wall Street Journal" reports China said it would buy 5 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans a day based on comments made by Chinese leaders, but a U.S. administration official told Reuters the exact amount was misinterpreted, and it is not a per day amount, but rather one purchase of 5 million metric tons.
American and Chinese negotiators met this week to try to make progress toward a deal by a March 1 deadline. That's when U.S. tariffs against Chinese goods are scheduled to bump up to 25 percent from 10 percent.
AgDay's Clinton Griffiths will be talking with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue tomorrow in an exclusive one-on-one interview at this year's 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. He will be asking him about trade talks with China and about this possible buy of U.S. soybeans. Look for continuing coverage on this developing story tomorrow online and Monday on AgDay.
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