Friday afternoon, news broke of a cease-fire in the 15-month trade war between the United States and China. Thirty hours earlier, however, President Donald Trump weighed in on another trade matter with the voice from a Graves County farmer.
A Wednesday story that aired on WPSD Local 6 featured Jed Clark discussing the Chinese trade dispute, but also his hopes of Congress passing the proposed United State-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
A tweet with a link to the story and Clark ‘s comment and another comment from First District U.S. Rep. James Comer was sent out through the Republican U.S. House of Representatives’ Twitter account Thursday morning. That tweet was then retweeted by Trump.
Clark, of Lynnville, commented that he and other farmers are waiting for Congress to pass the USMCA and expand corn and soybean markets, especially in Mexico, which is the top U.S. corn and second in soybean imports.
Comer, R-Ky., also told the TV station that the USMCA has bipartisan support, but legislators are waiting for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to bring it to the floor for a vote.
For months, Democrats have been negotiating with the administration over the agreement, seeking stronger protections for workers and the environment.
NAFTA, enacted under former President Bill Clinton, eliminated most trade barriers between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Critics, including Trump, labor unions and many Democratic lawmakers, have called NAFTA a "job killer for America."
The goal for the USMCA is to lure manufacturing back to the U.S., but first must get congressional approval.
The trade war between the U.S. and China has been on the minds of and has touched regional farmers as China had been a major importer of American corn and soybeans. However Friday’s announcement signaled that the U.S. would be suspending a tariff hike on $250 billion of Chinese imports set to take effect Tuesday.
With that, China agreed to buy $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. farm products as the world's two biggest economies reached a cease-fire in their 15-month trade war.
The two countries are leaving other heavier issues — including U.S. allegations that China forces foreign countries to hand over trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market — until later negotiations.
The tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports were set to rise Tuesday from 25% to 30%.
The Associated Press and WPSD Local 6 contributed to this article.