U.S. diversifying agriculture trade: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

Feeling the pinch of being too dependent on one nation for the sale of its agricultural products, the trade war has made the U.S. realize that it needs to diversify its agricultural trade exports.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has disclosed that the United States is working on a strategy that does not make it too dependent on China for trade deals.

Trump’s trade war with China has hit U.S. farmers hard, since China has responded by shutting off agricultural trade deals worth billions of dollars.

“We probably made a mistake, frankly, I’d say in hindsight, in becoming too dependent on that huge China market,” said Perdue to a gathering of the North American Meat Institute forum in Washington. “When you have so much of your business in one big customer, disruptions like this can mean pain. I think our strategy is to go around the world.”

He went on to add, “There’s a hungry world out there besides Canada, besides, China, and we’re pursing that aggressively”.

The Trump Administration is seeking to make new deals with India, the European Union, Japan and others.

When asked on the benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) accord Perdue declined to quantify how much additional trade it would generate for American farmers.

“We get better access for dairy, poultry, eggs … all those are improvements,” said Perdue.

Although many farm industry groups hailed the new trade pact, they felt it was far from complete since the dispute over steel and aluminum between the U.S., Canada and Mexico is yet to be resolved.

Trump has stated, tariffs on Mexico and Canada will remain in place until they “can do something different like quotas, perhaps.”

“We’re hopeful that those rules will be relaxed,” said Perdue citing conversations between Trump and Robert Lighthizer.


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