U.S., China discuss trade agreements


By Justin Walker

Negotiations continue between the United States and China as tariffs and bans on agricultural goods and services linger.

Tariffs on U.S. ethanol, bans on U.S. poultry imports and delays in biotech products were among the issues addressed in negotiation meetings with Chinese officials, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said.

“Those are all of the issues we are bringing up,” Perdue said. “They are listening and they understand very clearly that these are on our wish lists.”

While talks have been in progress for several months, with some noteworthy improvements during that time, it is still tough for trade officials to gauge China’s willingness to meet U.S. demands.

“It is very difficult to determine willingness,” Perdue said. “They are engaged in conversation. They listen and hear us. We, at this stage, are unable to determine the willingness factor.”

That is the nature of negotiations, Perdue said. Both parties have listed their demands and now they will see which items are most important to each side as talks move forward.

Talks have shown improvement in the relationship between the U.S. and China. The Chinese state grain buyer is preparing to purchase more U.S. corn following the most recent meetings.

The move is part of several deals between the two countries, which included a $30 billion annual deal that would send U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat to China.

U.S. and Chinese negotiators hope to reach an agreement before the March 1 deadline President Donald Trump set. If an agreement is not reached before then, tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products may increase from 10 percent to 15 percent.

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