WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) said the signing of the phase one deal marks a “promising step in the right direction” toward better trade relations with China.
Boozman, who was among a select group of lawmakers invited to the White House for the signing ceremony, praised the efforts of the Trump administration to broker a mutually beneficial trade agreement with China.
“For far too long, China’s one-sided trade practices have been harmful to American farmers, manufacturers and workers. President Trump set out to force a change in behavior and the phase one deal his team negotiated, when properly implemented and enforced, can achieve that goal. It is a promising step in the right direction,” Boozman said.
China has a long history of engaging in unfair trade practices. Among other things, the Chinese government has subsidized its steel and aluminum production, which resulted in vast global overcapacity; blocked U.S. agricultural products from entering its market; and imposed significant trade barriers to hurt American pharmaceutical companies. Its widespread theft of trade secrets and intellectual property has earned China the label of “the world’s principal IP infringer.”
Under the terms of the agreement, China will purchase an additional $200 billion of U.S. goods and services over the next two years. The country will make structural reforms in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, biotechnology, financial services and currency exchange. The agreement includes a dispute resolution system to ensure effective implementation and enforcement.
The phase one deal has the potential to provide significant benefits to America’s farmers and ranchers who have found themselves in the crosshairs of the U.S.-China trade dispute. By signing the agreement, China commits to buy at least $40 billion a year in U.S. farm products over the next two years and pledges to remove non-tariff barriers on a number of commodities, including American rice, poultry and beef—all of which are staples of Arkansas’s agriculture economy.
“Agriculture is Arkansas’s number one industry and our farmers and ranchers have been subjected to China’s unfair practices for too long. While work remains, China’s commitment to increase the amount of American farm products it purchases, along with the removal of specific barriers to entering the Chinese market, should be seen as welcome developments for our agriculture community,” Boozman said.
Boozman highlighted the enforcement aspect of the phase one deal, saying it is the most important component to ensuring the agreement is truly mutually beneficial.
“The phase one deal with China, along with the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement and a new trade agreement with Japan, should help us build on the historic economic growth our nation has seen in recent years. The key to this deal’s success will be ensuring China follows through on its promises,” Boozman said.