China can live without the US, 'but I don’t think they will': USDA adviser

Chelsea Lombardo
Production Assistant


On Tuesday, President Donald Trump told reporters that “someone had to take on China” regardless of "whether it's good or bad short-term” for the U.S.

And so Trump has, as the trade war between the U.S. and China rages on. But Tom Kehoe, U.S. Department of Agriculture trade adviser and international trade expert, told Yahoo Finance’s On The Move that he is optimistic that there will be an end to the battle. “You’re going to see little pieces of this deal come together. I think the president is trying to tie it altogether in one big package,” he said, adding that he’s heard from insiders that Washington is working “feverishly” for a deal.

Can China live without the U.S.? “Yes, but I don’t think that they will,” Kehoe said, noting that soybeans is the biggest agricultural commodity that they buy from the U.S. “China needs us. I think we need them as a place — as our back-door manufacturing facility. I think you will see some sort of a deal. President Xi Jinpng's reputation is as probably as important, and maybe even more important to him as part of his legacy. Look, he doesn't have to face the crazy election cycle we're in the early part of here for the 2020 presidency. He's changed the rules, and he's really president for as long as he'd like to be.”

Meanwhile, when it comes to Huawei Kehoe said he doesn’t think the U.S. has all of its business with Huawei sorted out.

The Huawei logo is pictured in central Warsaw, Poland, June 17, 2019. Picture taken June 17, 2019. To match Special Report HUAWEI-POLAND/SPYING REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

The U.S. Commerce Department is delaying a penalty on Huawei for 90 days, allowing U.S. companies to continue to work with the Chinese tech company, until November 19. This comes after President Donald Trump told reporters on Sunday that he does not want the United States to do business with Huawei, calling the company a “national security threat.”

“We have some rural carriers and rural networks that need the Huawei materials right now,” Kehoe said. “And I think the administration is giving a 90-day time lag there for them to try and find some replacements.”

“I think, the president's got his hands full with this one,” Kehoe said, referring to China in general. “There's a lot of chess pieces in play here.”

Chelsea Lombardo is a production assistant for Yahoo Finance. You can find more of her work here.

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