Midwest lawmakers hopeful about new China trade deal

WASHINGTON — After two years of an escalating trade fight with China, President Donald Trump announced phase one of a new trade deal.

The White House has not released official details of the first phase of the deal.  However, Trump says China has agreed to purchase at least $50 billion in U.S. agriculture goods.

“It’s a phenomenal deal,” Trump said. “The farmers are going to need to go out and buy more tractors because it means a lot of business.”

Midwest lawmakers are celebrating the news. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, tweeted, “this will help Iowa exporting ag products to China particularly soybeans+pork.”

U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-IA, says she is encouraged. “That’s really what are we’re going to need to see prices drive up,” she said.

Dale Moore, executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, says farmers have taken a beating the past two years. “It’s been hard. Hopefully, this gets us back on the global playing field,” he said.

Moore says after months of disappointing trade negotiations and false starts, this deal will give farmers new hope. “We’re excited. We appreciate the news, we’re anxious to see the details,” he said.

The White House has yet to release those details but says it’s ready to work on phase two.

Because of the deal, the U.S. will not go ahead with plans to slap additional tariffs on Chinese goods that had been scheduled for Sunday. Trump says current tariffs will remain in place. “They’ll be used as a negotiating table for the phase two deals,” he said.

Phase one also includes restrictions to stop China from stealing U.S. intellectual property.

But not everyone is celebrating the new deal. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT, called it a disaster. He says China made has made no commitments to structural reform.

The White House says the deal will be finalized in the coming weeks.

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