President Donald Trump held a press event from the Oval Office at the conclusions of talks with China regarding trade. Vice President Mike Pence, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were all in attendance, as well as China’s Vice Premier Liu and a delegation of trade officials.
Hoosier Ag Today initially reported that China would purchase 5 million metric tons of soybeans per day based on the official White House transcript below. Many other news sources have indicated that the Vice Premier either misspoke or was misheard and actually said “today” instead of “per day”.
THE PRESIDENT: I do appreciate the fact that you said so much about our farmers and that you’ll be doing purchases quickly about the farmers. That’s really wonderful.
VICE PREMIER LIU: Five — five million.
THE PRESIDENT: Five million —
INTERPRETER: Five million tons of soybeans.
THE PRESIDENT: Five million tons of soybeans. Wow.
VICE PREMIER LIU: Per day.
THE PRESIDENT: Per day. That’s going to make our farmers very happy. That’s a lot of soybeans. That’s really nice.
Lighthizer said that they are more or less in continuous negotiations with China to find a resolution to this trade issue. There will be a brief pause for the Chinese New Year and then he and Mnuchin will will go to China to continue face-to-face negotiations in early February.
Lighthizer said in regards to getting a deal done, “At this point, it’s impossible for me to predict success, but we are in a place that, if things work, it could happen.”
Trump said that the relationship between the US and China is “very, very good”. He said, “It’s been very, very good. And, you know, you read a lot of things. Sometimes you hear good, sometimes you don’t hear good. But I will say that I think that the relationship that we have right now with China has never been so advanced. I don’t think it’s ever been better. But I can you tell you for a fact, it’s never been so advanced.
And certainly a deal has never been so advanced. Because, essentially, we don’t have a deal. We never had a trade deal. We’re going to have a great trade deal. But we never really had a trade deal with China, and now we’re going to have a great trade deal with China, if it all works out. And we look forward to it. It’s going to be great for both countries — not just us, not just them. This is going to be great for both countries.”