Hoosier Farm Groups Applaud U.S.-China Deal

Inside Indiana Business is reporting that Indiana farm groups are applauding the signing of the first phase of a trade deal between the U.S and China.

The deal, which was signed Wednesday at the White House, requires China to purchase $200 billion worth of U.S. goods, including $40-$50 billion in agricultural products over each of the next two years.

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler attended the signing ceremony in Washington D.C.

“We are excited to further develop our relationship with China and are looking forward to the positive impact this will have on Indiana agriculture now, and in the future,” said Kettler.

Ted McKinney, former director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and current USDA Under Secretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, says the agreement is a big win for Hoosier farmers, especially the poultry sector.

“I have full expectation that companies like (Jasper-based) Farbest will find some turkey headed that way. I know that (Goshen-based) Maple Leaf farms in the duck business is quite prevalent there,” said McKinney. “I’m hopeful that they are either already on the water or maybe they’re already finding their way to the port.”

McKinney says while the Indiana fresh and frozen poultry sectors should benefit from additional shipments, the state’s egg industry will not. But he says his office intends to work on that during the second phase of negotiations which have not been scheduled.

The phase one agreement follows lengthy negotiations and a nearly two-year-long trade war between the two economic superpowers.

“Strengthening our relationships with trading partners from around the world will bring certainty to the market for many of our farm families and the agricultural industry as a whole,” said Randy Kron, Indiana Farm Bureau president. “Indiana Farm Bureau remains optimistic and looks forward to the ongoing discussions with China.”

In addition to the purchases, Beijing has agreed to stop the theft of intellectual property. In return, the U.S. will trim tariffs on some Chinese-made goods but $375 billion in duties remain in place.

The administration has held out the possibility of removing the duties under a later phase of the trade agreement, which President Trump has said may require as many as three sections. McKinney says phase two will be even trickier.

“Yeah, we’re getting a lot in phase one. But we didn’t it did not get everything in phase one and phase two. There’s going to be a heavy lift for both parties.”

Click here to view the agriculture-related provisions in the U.S.-China agreement.