Visitors were slated to visit farms in Nebraska and Montana
By Diego Flammini
A group of Chinese officials will not be touring U.S. farms as originally planned.
Chinese trade delegates already in America were preparing to visit farms in Nebraska and Montana this week. But they abruptly cancelled the trip on Friday.
The cancellation came at the request of U.S. officials, Bloomberg reported on Sept. 22.
“The whole affair was sort of a mystery,” Will Rodgers, director of policy communications with the American Farm Bureau Federation, told Farms.com in an email on Monday. The Chinese visitors “announced they were coming late, then turned around and decided to go home. We aren’t really privy to what happened there.”
Prior to the cancellation, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue called the farm trips an act of “goodwill.”
China and the U.S. are gearing up for another round of trade talks in October when Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Officials aren’t viewing the farm trip cancellation as an indication that negotiations are breaking down, however.
“Negotiations on the agriculture area went very well, and the two sides held thorough and candid communication,” said Han Jun, China’s vice agricultural minister, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
Getting a bilateral trade agreement over the finish line could take more than farm products.
While China has targeted U.S. agriculture during the ongoing trade war, a comprehensive deal is necessary, President Trump said.
“We’re looking for a complete deal,” he told reporters Friday during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “I’m not looking for a partial deal. China has been starting to buy our agricultural products, if you noticed over the last week – and actually, some very big purchases.”
Farms.com has reached out to farm groups and market analysts for comment.