Wiesemeyer on China Deal: We’ve Been Here Before

12:52PM Dec 13, 2019
U.S., China
China trade deal
( MGN Online )

President Donald Trump and the Chinese government are both touting agreement on a phase 1 trade deal, but Pro Farmer policy analyst Jim Wiesemeyer says history shows that a deal will only matter once it’s in writing.

“We had an agreement in principle on October the 11th per President Trump in an Oval Office video,” Wiesemeyer says in an interview with AgDay’s Clinton Griffiths. “What he said at that time was ‘we had to paper it,’ meaning that they had to put words on paper. We’re basically back to that same development. So that’s why I and others are skeptical here.”

One major difference between the Oct. 11 announcement and today, however, is that the Chinese government said publicly Friday morning that there is an agreement “in concept.”

Neither side, however, is offering any specifics on what this latest agreement might mean for agricultural purchases by China. As part of the Oct. announcement President Trump indicated the agreement would require up to $50 billion in U.S. ag purchases by China. In Friday’s press conference, Chinese officials said any ag purchases had to be market driven.

A statement from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said the agreement “includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years.”

“I hate to say it, but we’ve been burned before,” WIesemeyer says. “I don’t care what Trump is saying on the $50 billion. Verify it with text and verify it with the Chinese officials’ comments and, if that’s the case, let’s get on with it.”

Wiesemeyer says there is no clear timeline for finishing and signing a phase 1 deal. The president in a pair of tweets said negotiations on phase 2 will start immediately.

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