Phase One is Done; ISDA’s Kettler at White House for Signing

President Donald J. Trump participates in a signing ceremony of an agreement between the United States and China with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. Vice President Mike Pence attends.(Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

The Phase One trade deal between the US and China has officially been signed.

“They’re going to be spending much more than $200 billion over the next 2 years, including up to $50 billion just on agriculture alone,” said President Donald Trump before the signing of the deal on Wednesday at the White House.

The White House did confirm that China has agreed to purchase between $40 and $50 billion in American agricultural goods each year for two years.

“China was doing $16 billion with the farmers and they stopped (because) they’re in a negotiation. So, our people agreed to $20 billion and I said, ‘No. Make it $50 billion. What difference does it make? Make it 50.’ They say, ‘Sir, our farmers can’t produce that much.’ I said, ‘I love our farmers. Let them tell me they can’t do it.’”

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler was in the East Room at the White House for the signing. He was also at the White House for the signing of the Japan agreement back in October. He said there was more excitement in the room this time around.

“I think the historic significance and nature of it, you know, all of us in agriculture are very excited to see this. Certainly, the details are going to be critical.”

Kettler, like farmers, wants to see precisely what China will be purchasing. He says if we look at our trade with China in the past, Indiana will benefit from increased purchases of soybeans, pork, poultry, and even a little bit of dairy. Kettler says another big winner in Indiana from the Phase One deal is the hardwoods industry.

“In 2017 I think it was over $50 or $53 million worth of hardwoods products, a lot of it hardwoods logs, was sold and traded into China. So, that industry has been hurt in Indiana because of the tariffs and trade issues. That’s another one for us that, besides the crops and livestock products that we think about, we also want to see what it will do for our hardwoods industry.”

ISDA Director Bruce Kettler (at right) in the White House. (Photo credit Indiana State Dept. of Agriculture on Facebook)

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