Purdue University celebrated its land-grant roots on Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium with their second Purdue Ag Day. Many from the Purdue Ag community were on hand, including USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney.
HAT spoke with McKinney just before kickoff down on the sidelines about the prospects of getting the phase one trade deal completed with China after the original event for the signing, the APEC Summit in Chile, was canceled due to protests in the country.
“I don’t know where, but I do believe both President Xi Jinping and President Trump want to do something, and I have a sense they want to do it soon.”
President Trump recently suggested Iowa as a potential spot for the signing.
McKinney says negotiations between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are ongoing and his team is involved.
“My team and USTR met three times this week…I think it’s going to be decent and I think it’s going to happen.”
That being said, “You never know with the Chinese. I know how faithfully we want to get this done. I hope the same is true for them.”
McKinney also weighed in on the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. He says we’re beginning to run out of time.
“The Democrats have been negotiating with Ambassador Lighthizer faithfully, and the reverse is true. We keep hearing about progress… I wish the legislation would get to Congress because that would be the sign that we’re in the final phase. If it gets there at Thanksgiving, that’s not very much time to finish a big deal.”
McKinney says it’s more than just passing USMCA because it’s right or because it’s better. He says the world is watching.
“I’ve had foreign officials, that I consider friends, just tell me confidentially, ‘We’d love to do more with you. You’ve got to prove to us you can do a deal.’ It’s a template. It’s a bellwether.”
McKinney, a 1981 ag economics grad and former Purdue Pete, enjoyed the Purdue Ag Day festivities as the Boilers beat Nebraska 31-27.