WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — After nearly two years of an escalating trade war, the United States and China on Wednesday signed off on the first part of a truce.
The phase one deal includes a commitment from China to buy $200 billion more in U.S. goods and services than in 2017. For its part, the U.S. vowed to roll back tariffs on Chinese imports.
“This is the biggest deal there is anywhere in the world,” President Donald Trump said.
“(The deal is) good for China, the U.S. and the whole world,” agreed the Beijing representative who along with Trump signed off on the pact during a press event at the White House.
Included China’s promised purchases is at least $80 million in agriculture products over the next two years.
“We’re going to see a lot of opportunity because of that,” said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, whose state is among the nation’s largest exporters of soy beans.
She said the deal is payoff for farmers who have had a tough time during the two-year trade war.
“I think they are so appreciative that he (Trump) stayed firm,” Reynolds, a Republican, said.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the deal could prevent farmers from relying on more federal aid.
“We hope trade takes over and we won’t need any supplemental income,” he said.
The White House says that unlike previous deals, this one will require China to make internal regulatory changes and enforce new penalties if it violates new rules, with Trump boasting “total and full enforceability.”
But Democrats on Capitol Hill still aren’t sure the deal is worth two years of trade troubles.
“We have lost so many markets that we’re never going to get back,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said.
“If we’re only going to see an end result that gets us back to where we were with China, that’s not good enough,” Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, agreed.
White House officials say they’re already working on the deal’s next phase.