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US ag secretary Sonny Perdue may be 'moderating influence' on Donald Trump

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Sonny Perdue, appointed US agriculture secretary, may act as a "temporising influence" on Donald Trump on immigration and trade, issues over which the new US president has attracted worldwide controversy.

President Trump has, during his first days in office, prioritised policy orders in trade – withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership – and immigration, with much-publicised curbs on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Both factors are important issues for US farming, which relies on immigrants for much of its workforce, and trade deals for facilitating agricultural exports that Washington expects to reach $134.0bn in the year to the end of September.

Mr Perdue - assuming his appointment as agriculture secretary is confirmed - may help to moderate any tendency in the Trump administration for radical reforms,'s chief economist, John Phelan, says.

'Temporising influence'

Mr Perdue "might be a temporising influence on President Trump", Mr Phelan says in an report on the new agriculture secretary.

Although Mr Perdue, as a Georgia governor until 2011 himself attracted protests for his immigration policy - passing a law which left farms 40% short of workers needed, according to a University of Georgia study - he has also shown a more moderate line in this area.

Before leaving office in Georgia, he said that ensuring that "people of colour and people who are not US-born" feel welcome in the country is a major challenge for Republicans.

Furthermore, he has shown support for free trade, opening Georgia's international trade office in Beijing and lobbying to have Atlanta chosen as the headquarters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

For more information, Agrimoney's report Sonny Perdue – face of farming for the Trump administration is free to download by clicking here.


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