Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue remains optimistic about the farm economy, despite the impact of the spreading coronavirus on the world economy. Perdue is trying to put the best face forward on the grim news about coronavirus. Despite the spread of the disease and economic impacts, the Secretary said he’s hopeful about the demand prospects for U.S. Ag this year.
“I think the new trade deals and the strong consumer demand in the United States and abroad, signal that bright days are ahead. None of us, obviously, know what the impact is going to be with coronavirus. That’s yet to be determined; We’re going to do what we’ve always done, and do what needs to be done, in that regard, nationally and internationally.”
Perdue noted producers remain optimistic. He added he’s also encouraged thanks to recent trade deals.
“The Phase 1 deal with China, I’m encouraged by it. USMCA, Japan, the renewal of the KORUS arrangement. And, again, to all the smaller countries, the ‘singles’ that Ambassador Lighthizer talks about, I think, will set us up for a great future. I think we’ve seen, based on the trade deals, I think we’ve seen the lows put in for the recent areas.”
Perdue said the Japan Phase One deal will boost ag exports some $7 billion by leveling tariffs on U.S. product to earlier TPP levels, while the China deal if fully implemented, will double U.S. Ag exports there. Perdue added China has signaled it wants to comply with its deal, adding USDA staff are in China, helping deal with shipment delays related to coronavirus.
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