Perdue: US farmers will regain markets lost in trade war

Updated: August 07, 2019 06:28 PM

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has told nervous Midwestern farmers he's confident that they'll eventually regain the markets they've lost in the Trump administration's trade war with China.

Perdue participated in a listening session Wednesday at Farmfest, an annual trade show in Minnesota. He heard criticism from farmers about the trade war and the pain it's causing in rural America.


"This administration is working as very hard as we can to level the trade playing field around the globe," Perdue told farmers at the listening session with five members of Minnesota's congressional delegation. 

But Congresswoman Angie Craig, D-Minnesota, is unconvinced.

"Mr. Secretary I'm rooting for you, the administration to be successful, but I just want to tell you I'm not sure how much longer our farmers can wait," she told him at the forum with farmers.

Perdue said the short-term pain is necessary to get China to stop lying and cheating in their trade with the U.S. and the rest of the world.

"That's not the way the number two economy in the world should trade and President Trump's pretty firm about that," he told reporters after the listening session. "And they need to change their ways, change their culture of trying to build their economy on the backs of cheating."

Democratic House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, agrees with the goal, but not the president's methods.

"I wouldn't have chosen this direction...but I'm not the president," Peterson said while standing alongside Perdue.

Farmers KSTP talked to are split on the issue. Some urged President Trump to stay firm with China. Others fear U.S. farmers might permanently lose China as a major trading partner.

China announced Monday that it awas halting purchases of U.S. farm products in response to President Donald Trump's threat of more tariffs on Chinese imports.

Perdue says he believes the U.S. will gain the China market back. But he says it will have to be a "fair, reciprocal and free trade environment."

Perdue says farmers are resilient and he wants to help them thrive.

In addition to the trade war with china, crop farmers in Minnesota are also being impacted by conditions that are generally worse than in previous years (through August 5 of each year).

KSTP's Tom Hauser contributed to this story.

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Associated Press

(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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