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Head of Busiest U.S. Port Says China to Miss Agriculture Target

The head of the U.S.’s busiest port said China is on track to buy less than one-third of the American agricultural products it promised to purchase in 2020, the first year of a trade pact between the world’s two biggest economies.
“The phase-one trade deal set lofty expectations for purchases that had not been witnessed by American agriculture producers ever -- what we’ve seen so far is a requirement to buy $36 billion worth of goods, and we may edge our way towards $10 billion,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said on a webcast Thursday. “We’ve got so much to catch up on in the back half of this year.”
The Asian nation has recently accelerated purchases of U.S. corn and soybeans, but the transactions may be insufficient to help it reach the target to buy $36.5 billion of agricultural goods this year, 52% more than in 2017, as it pledged in the Jan. 15 agreement.
Negotiators are supposed to meet in coming days to review progress on the deal meant to cool tensions in a more than two-year tariff war. The coronavirus crisis and the deterioration in U.S.-China relations on everything from tech security to Hong Kong has left trade a rare area of cooperation.
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