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US pushes China to double Ag imports

Washington—US Trade officials want China to increase US Ag imports each year.

Trade negotiators want China to import at least $25 billion more next year, which doubles the $20 billion China now buys, according to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Perdue stressed that it won’t happen right away saying that the. countries would need at least two years to build up trade to that level.

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has overseen every phase of the latest round of talks will be accompanying Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross next week when he leads a negotiating team to Beijing.

The last round of talks was held in Washington last week, that's when the two countries first announced a willingness of China to increase its Ag imports.

In a joint news release, the two countries were hopeful for a thaw in trade relations. “Both sides agreed on meaningful increases in the United States agriculture and energy exports.”

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said there were Ag crops that the Chinese needed and were willing to but right away.

“There are several commodities … we’re capable of selling a lot more of to China,” said Perdue. “Including rice, corn, poultry, soybeans and distiller’s dried grains.” The distiller grains come from Idaho.

Perdue said talks are progressing and that why he’s sending the USDA’s FAS team. “We’re going to try to tie down the details of these negotiations,” added Perdue. China announced last Friday it was scrapping its 179 percent anti-dumping duty on US sorghum.

But right now China is still levying tariffs on US pork, almonds, oranges, wine and other commodities in retaliation to US tariffs on steel and aluminum. Not to mention a 25 percent tariff on US soybeans in response to the US plan earlier this year to penalize the country with tariffs for intellectual property theft.