Arkansas Farm Bureau noted cautious optimism after Wednesday’s signing by President Donald Trump of “phase one” of a U.S.-China trade agreement, hopeful it can bring needed stability to agriculture markets that have been battered by uncertainty since trade disputes between the two countries have escalated.
“This action certainly has the potential to impact, in a positive manner, the Arkansas economy and the tax base of our state,” said Rich Hillman of Carlisle, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest agricultural advocacy group. “We thank members of the Arkansas Congressional delegation for their continued focus on this matter. At this point we are cautiously optimistic.”
As part of the “phase one” agreement, China has agreed to purchase increased amounts of U.S. agricultural and other products. Reduction or elimination of non-tariff barriers is included for meat, poultry, rice, dairy and other products.
The U.S. exported $19.5 billion of agricultural products to China in 2017. As a result of retaliatory tariffs, agricultural exports were reduced to $9.1 billion in 2018.
“Our farmers and ranchers are eager to get back to business globally, and restoring our ability to be competitive in China is key to that,” said Warren Carter, executive vice president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau.
The agreement requires structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange. The Phase One agreement also includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years. Importantly, the agreement establishes a strong dispute resolution system that ensures prompt and effective implementation and enforcement.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private farm and rural advocacy organization of almost 190,000 member families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.
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