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Farm officials hopeful after new trade deal

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FRANKLIN COUNTY (WSIL) -- The President is calling the trade agreement with China, the "biggest deal" made between any nations anywhere in the world.

Under the agreement signed Wednesday, China agreed to purchase up to $40 billion worth of U.S. agriculture goods, annually, over the next two years.

Leaders at regional Farm Bureaus said it is still a little early to measure the deal's impact. Franklin County Farm Bureau president Leon McClerren tells News Three, the U.S. lost its Ag-market shortly after the trade war with China set in. He said farmers are breathing a little easier now with the signing of the Phase-One Trade Agreement.

"But now we need to see some purchase orders from China in order to solidify the deal to see our market take another step up," said McClerron, adding that it might take up to six months for those orders to arrive. Right now he said farmers have held on to their grain in hopes of a trade deal and they are ready to start selling again.

"Seasonally speaking it's time for farmers to be getting their input in place for the 2020 crop year," said McClerren. "So, you're going to see a lot of grain moving."

Under Phase One, China agreed to purchase up to $200 billion in U.S. goods over the next two years. At the signing Wednesday, President Trump praised the deal, listing four major industries it will benefit.

"This is something that is going to be so special; however, to our manufactures, our farmers, our bankers, our service people -- nobody's ever seen anything like it," said Trump.

McClerren said farmers need this deal to work and future U.S. farmers need to know they have an opportunity to retake the market.

"Getting back a trade partner the size of China, the second biggest economy in the world, it's huge," said McClerren. "To know that you're going to be able to trade with them for the foreseeable future, I think would have to encourage anybody in the farming community."

The U.S. China Phase-One deal is set to take effect in 30 days with negotiations on phase two to begin after that period.

Joe Rehana

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