**A great source of optimism for thousands of producers at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in New Orleans was the record pace of U.S. beef exports.

U.S. Meat Export Federation President Dan Halstrom notes that, when available, 2018 data will show U.S. beef exports topping $8 billion for the first time, but cautioned that in order to maintain momentum, a trade agreement with Japan is necessary to eliminate the widening tariff gap between U.S. beef exports to Japan and those from Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand.

**The 90-day trade war truce with China ends March 2nd, that’s the day U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer gave to increase tariffs on a number of Chinese imports if there is no progress in trade talks this month.

Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping are supposed to meet in Asia over the next four weeks, possibly putting that date on hold.

No date or location has been set.

**That said, China quickly followed through on its Vice Premier's pledge at the White House to buy more U.S. soybeans.

Agrimarketing.com reports China has already purchased between 2 and 2.5 million metric tons of soybeans out of the 5 million pledged in the Oval Office.

AgResource president Dan Basse tells Agri-Pulse half of that purchase would head to China through Pacific Northwest ports and half through the Gulf Coast.

He says the Chinese are keeping good on their promise.

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