Secretary Perdue warns that China may not meet farm commitments in Phase 1 trade deal

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says that China may fall short of its agricultural product purchasing commitments made in its Phase 1 trade deal with the United States.
calendar icon 6 October 2020
clock icon 3 minute read

Reuters reports that China may not be able to meet its commitments due to “non-agricultural trade issues”.

Secretary Perdue made the statement on Friday 2 October at a town hall meeting with farmers at Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, saying, "I'm not sure they're going to make it, but they're trying. Non-agricultural trade issues get in the way."

China committed to importing $36.5 billion in US farm products this year in the trade deal signed in January, but lagging purchases during the first half of the year cast doubt on the goal of increasing imports by more than 50 percent over 2017 levels.

It was unclear which trade issues Perdue believed were obstacles to the agreement. A series of hurdles have emerged since the Phase 1 deal was implemented, including a threatened US ban on popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok and an executive order signed by US President Donald Trump ending preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong.

Chinese imports of US agricultural products totalled just $8.6 billion from January through July, according to the latest US Census trade data.

Buying has accelerated considerably in August and September, including around 12 million tonnes of soybeans and 4 million tonnes of corn, according to preliminary US Department of Agriculture data.

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