This week Chinese officials are in Washington, D.C. to negotiate trade. As part of those talks Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was in the oval office on Thursday with President Trump and Chinese officials including Chinese-Vice Premier Liu He. According to Perdue, both sides are clear on what the other wants but coming to agreement and putting proper enforcement mechanisms in place will be the challenge.
“We were in the Oval Office yesterday afternoon with the Vice Premier of China Mr. He and his team and it all went very well,” Perdue told AgDay host Clinton Griffiths in an exclusive interview on Friday. “The President was read a letter from President Xi that was very gracious and Mr. He had some very kind comments. I think there's a very serious desire on both sides to reach a comprehensive trade deal and I know the President expressed that. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do.”
China has involved itself in international intellectual property transfer, forced transfer and sometimes theft, according to Perdue. He said structural reforms are necessary in this area.
“I'm hoping that China will recognize that to be part of the international trading family they’ve got to play by the rules,” he said. “If that's the case, I think we're willing and able. We've had a team in China earlier this year with Under Secretary McKinney and our trade folks there along with the U.S. trade Ambassador Lighthizer, and things are going well. They know what we want, and we know what they want. It's a matter of the willingness to comply with that, as well as enforcement mechanisms. It’s easier to say something on paper, but not live up to it, and we've got to make sure that there are significant and adequate enforcement mechanisms over intellectual property transfers.”
As for the rumored five million metric tons of soybeans to purchased daily by China, Perdue said he has no idea how that “got out.”
“I was there listening first-person and Vice Premier said we're willing and we wanted to disclose today that we're willing to buy five million more metric tons today, not a day,” he explained. “I mean, that would run us out pretty quickly, if it was five million metric tons a day.”