FILE - Iowa farm

Farmland near the Mississippi River in Northeast Iowa

Local and national government officials and agricultural advocates are expressing their respective pleasure over Wednesday’s signing of the first phase of a sweeping trade deal between China and the United States.

Among the provisions of the deal are agreements from China to import an additional $32 billion in agricultural products; $80 billion in manufactured goods; $50 billion in energy products; and $35 billion in other services.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican, lauded “this significant progress toward a full and enforceable deal with China. Farmers have borne the brunt of retaliation throughout this trade war.”

Described by the Wall Street Journal as a “landmark deal,” the agreement also is intended to protect intellectual property of U.S. companies with operations in China as well as opening Chinese markets to U.S. financial services. In return, the U.S. will cut tariffs by half, or 7.5 percent, on imported Chinese goods and postpone additional tariffs.

The deal also will promote increased exports of U.S. food, agriculture and seafood products, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) anticipates will grow “American farm and fishery income, generating more rural economic activity, and promoting job growth.”

Specifics of Phase One of the trade deal will not be revealed until Thursday morning. Wednesday's signing of the treaty, however, is being greeted as a cease fire in the trade wars that have roiled worldwide markets for the past year.

"This is a very important and remarkable occasion," President Donald Trump said at the signing. "Together we are righting the wrongs of the past."

The treaty was signed the same day that the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send two articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate.

According to the USDA, “A multitude of non-tariff barriers to U.S. agriculture and seafood are addressed, including for meat, poultry, seafood, rice, dairy, infant formula, horticultural products, animal feed and feed additives, pet food, and products of agriculture biotechnology.”

“While it took China a long time to realize President Trump was serious, this China Phase I Deal is a huge success for the entire economy," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement. "This agreement finally levels the playing field for U.S. agriculture and will be a bonanza for America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers.”

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds also attended the White House signing.

 “Today, President Trump secured a historic win for the American people,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Forging a stronger trade agreement with China puts Iowa farmers, families, and small businesses first. It was an honor to attend the signing ceremony, at the invitation of the President, and witness such an iconic moment.”

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican and chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, also applauded the deal.

“As Iowa’s 4th largest trading partner, China is a critically important market for Iowans, and this phase one deal – which is especially promising for our ag and manufacturing sectors – will help provide certainty for folks back home and starts to address other long-time issues with China: forced technology transfers and non-tariff trade barriers,”  Ernst said.

Regional Editor

Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.