INDIANAPOLIS —On Jan. 15, President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He formally signed a Phase 1 trade agreement between the United States and China.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a news release, “During my economic development trip to China in September, numerous government officials expressed a desire to secure a trade deal, and President Trump has delivered. This is a great first step, especially for our Hoosier farmers. We look forward to a continued mutually productive relationship with China, one of Indiana’s largest international partners.”

According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, this Phase 1 agreement focuses on intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services along with currency and foreign exchange. This agreement also includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years.

“The trade deal made today in our nation's capital will have a significant impact on our country as a whole and specifically, right here in our Hoosier state,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agricultural and Rural Development. “With China being one of Indiana’s top five trading partners, we are certain this deal will strengthen Indiana’s economy and provide an even greater boost to our farmers and the agriculture industry.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, IN-3, released the following statement after the U.S. and China reached the agreement:

“President Trump’s greatest foreign policy achievement is bringing clarity to the relationship between China and the U.S. With that clarity, he’s negotiated a first-step deal with Beijing that begins to right the many wrongs for which China is responsible. Hoosiers are glad that we have a president who is willing to stand up to China and negotiate better deals that will benefit our farmers, businesses and manufacturers."

Agriculture highlights of the trade agreement include:

China will purchase and import at least $40 billion of U.S. food, agricultural and seafood products annually over the next two years

China has agreed to streamline the regulatory process by implementing a predicable and science based approval method for products of agricultural biotechnology

China will expand the scope of beef products, pork products and processed meats eligible for importation

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler attended the signing ceremony in Washington D.C. Others in attendance included, Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and other congressional and national industry leaders.

“It was an honor to be invited and watch the signing of this historic deal,” Kettler said in an announcement. “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.”

In 2017, Indiana shipped $4.6 billion in domestic agriculture products abroad, making Indiana the country’s eighth largest agricultural exporting state. In addition to agriculture commodities, China is one of Indiana’s top export markets for hardwoods, over $55.3 million was exported in 2017. China is a crucial trading partner to the U.S., according to the USDA soybean exports to China totaled 9.4 million tons last year.

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