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Reaction to phase one trade deal

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images US President Donald Trump and China's Vice Premier Liu He sign a trade agreement.
President Donald Trump and China's Vice Premier Liu He sign a trade agreement between the U.S. and China during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 15, 2020
Agricultural groups praise Trump, his administration for reaching phase one trade deal with China.

President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed the first phase of a trade deal today.

Reuters reports the centerpiece of the deal is a pledge by China to purchase an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. farm products and other goods and services over two years. The trade deal takes effect in 30 days.

Find the text of the trade deal here.

Agricultural groups praised Trump and his administration for reaching the deal.

“Today, the two most powerful economies in the world began to restore a positive, mutually beneficial trade relationship, and dairy producers and processors across the United States are grateful," said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. "To put the importance of this development in perspective for America’s dairy industry: Over the next decade, China represents a $23 billion market opportunity for U.S. dairy, and it is essential to our producers and companies that we have a trade relationship with China that further levels the playing field for American dairy and provides expanded market access for our growing industry."

"This agreement will boost U.S. goods and services exports to China by a reported $200 billion over the next two years," said Agricultural Retailers Association President and CEO Daren Coppock. “Our agricultural markets have struggled mightily with imposed tariffs over the past two years. This agreement is hopefully the beginning of the end in securing a long-term agreement with China promoting free, fair and reciprocal trade that eliminates burdensome tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers. Our agricultural economy depends on it."

“The Phase-One Agreement with China will be a game changer for the U.S. beef industry," said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. "The removal of these massive trade barriers gives Chinese consumers access to the U.S. beef they desire, and it gives America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen the opportunity to provide U.S. beef to a growing consumer-base that represents one-fifth of the global population and a middle-class that is greater than the entire U.S. population."

“After so many months of uncertainty and escalating tensions, it is a good sign that our two countries appear to have found common ground," said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. "We are hopeful that this deal will meaningfully address China’s problematic trade practices and intellectual property theft as well as finally establish some stability for American farmers’ export markets."

“Signing the phase one agreement with China is a step in the right direction to resolving the trade dispute with China and restoring the trading relationship between our two countries," said NCGA President Kevin Ross. "China holds tremendous opportunity for American corn, ethanol and DDGs and NCGA looks forward to learning further details of what phase one will mean for these products. As more specifics become available, we will closely monitor implementation to ensure that the commitments are upheld and that U.S. corn farmers resume trading with Chinese customers."

“China was once the largest market for U.S. agricultural products but has dropped to fifth largest since retaliatory tariffs were introduced," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. "This agreement will help turn around two years of declining agricultural exports. The potential of tens of billions more in exports is welcome news for farmers who are eager to compete on a more level playing field."

"We anticipate fully analyzing the terms of the deal, but as for what we understand today, it offers more opportunities for our growers to once again become competitive in the Chinese market and to regain relationships with our customers there," said National Sorghum Producers Chairman Dan Atkisson, a sorghum farmer from Stockton, Kansas. "We know we have the sorghum to sell, and we know our customers in China want our product. Therefore, we look forward to re-establishing business at the shipment levels we saw before this process began.”

"Wheat farmers have experienced the harm of unfair trading practices at the hands of China for far too long, as reinforced by the recent WTO wins. This step forward in negotiations between the U.S and China is a tremendous way to begin the new year," said National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule.

"The structural reforms, particularly those affecting feed grains, agricultural biotechnology, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures – once fully committed and implemented – will hopefully offer lasting impacts beyond short-term commitments to make accelerated, market-driven purchases," said U.S. Grains Council Chairman Darren Armstrong, a farmer from North Carolina. "The agreement, as we understand it, will offer opportunities for U.S. farmers to once again become competitive in China and serve our customers by addressing retaliatory tariffs and long-standing, non-tariff barriers to trade."

“We are very pleased to see true progress on the regulatory process for ag biotech products, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and other big points of concern. And, importantly, this milestone moment in the negotiation process bodes well for de-escalation of the tension between our two countries and making further progress,” said Bill Gordon, soy farmer from Worthington, Minn., and American Soybean Association president “Yet, as an industry, we have a lingering unease regarding the tariff on U.S. beans, which was not addressed in this deal. China needs to take action, and, as a goodwill gesture, offer to remove its retaliatory tax on our soybeans.”

"While China's phase one commitments are welcomed, U.S. pork exports continue to be suppressed because of the country's 60% punitive tariffs," said National Pork Producers Council President David Herring. "In order to fully capture the benefits of this deal, we need China to eliminate all tariffs on U.S. pork for at least five years."

"For the U.S. pork and beef industries to expand their business in China, the world's largest and fastest-growing destination for imported red meat, it is critically important that China follows international standards for pork and beef trade," said Dan Halstrom, the U.S. Meat Export Federation's president and chief executive officer. "The Phase One trade agreement lays important groundwork toward this goal, and USMEF thanks the Trump administration for addressing the barriers that have hampered U.S. pork and beef exports to China for many years. Last year China's red meat imports exceeded $14 billion, a 65% increase from 2018. The U.S. industry looks forward to capturing a greater share of this rapidly growing market."

“The phase one trade agreement represents welcomed progress with China," said Tom Nassif, Western Growers' president and chief executive officer. "We are encouraged by China’s commitment to make substantial additional agricultural purchases above historical norms over the next few years, and eagerly anticipate the removal of trade barriers that have restricted exports of U.S. fruits, vegetables and tree nuts to this critical market."

“We applaud the U.S. and Chinese governments for agreeing to this first milestone in the trade negotiations,” said Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “As the two sides continue these significant conversations, we encourage them to continue to work in good faith, reaching the second phase of negotiations and the removal of all tariffs."

Lawmakers weighed in too.

“My district produces everything from dairy, meat and poultry, to feed and pet food, to alfalfa and ethanol. This agreement appears to include positive structural changes and commitments that could increase access to the Chinese market for those and other products produced in districts across the country,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota. “The question now is whether China will play by the rules it has agreed to here. I’m also concerned that, long-term, certain crops may not regain the foothold they lost in the trade war. If those purchases don’t materialize, I worry what effects that will have on the markets for crops like soybeans and sorghum.”

“In January of 2017, few believed that President Trump could successfully renegotiate NAFTA or new trade terms with China. Even fewer believed that any changes made would eliminate the unfair trading practices of our trading partners in North America or the predatory trading practices of China that have long injured the United States," said House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway of Texas. "Those critics have no ground to stand on today. The President has negotiated the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to preserve and expand access for America’s farmers and ranchers to vital Canadian and Mexican markets, and has now signed Phase One of a U.S.-China agreement that begins a longer process of finally holding China accountable to its trade commitments and to principles of truly free and fair trade."

“It’s a good day for American businesses, especially farmers and ranchers. This agreement is a big step towards a stronger, more reliable trading relationship between the U.S. and China,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. “I’m glad to see this administration holding China accountable. And, I look forward to seeing this framework established and launching the next phase of this important agreement.”

“At every turn, the American people have picked up the tab for the president’s trade war, which has strained hardworking American families and farmers. I am happy to see some progress,” said Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa of California, “but I will closely review this agreement to determine the impact on agriculture and working people in my district and nationwide.”


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