Perdue: U.S. wants China to be a customer

BloombergTOKYO (Bloomberg) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wants China to be a customer of American farm products, even after Washington hiked tariffs on more than $200 billion in Chinese goods, and said retaliation by Beijing would prompt the United States to boost support to its farmers.

“Our biggest goal will be for China not to retaliate and stay at the table to negotiate a good deal,” Perdue told Bloomberg News on Sunday, adding that the United States will respond if China retaliates.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday the United States will boost its purchases of domestic farm products for humanitarian aid in an effort to offset lost demand from China as trade tensions flare.

Perdue said he is working carefully on a plan and will submit it to the president within “a few days to a couple of weeks.”

Trump said on Twitter the United States will use money coming in from the tariffs to buy American agricultural products “in larger amounts than China ever did” and send it to “poor & starving countries” for humanitarian aid. The president indicated potential purchases of $15 billion from farmers.

Perdue said the implementation of the program will take time, as the United States has a large stockpile of grain and oilseed. The U.S. Agriculture Department released its closely watched monthly crop outlook Friday, issuing the first guidance on supply and demand for the upcoming season, and forecast rising domestic stockpiles.

Soybeans posted their biggest weekly loss in more than eight months in the week through Friday as the department’s report exceeded analysts’ estimates for oilseed stocks.

Corn also slumped as U.S. inventories were projected to swell to the most since the 1987-1988 season. Benchmark soybean futures in Chicago extended losses on Monday to the lowest level in more than 10 years.


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