Trump to promote China, Mexico-Canada trade deals to farmers

Trump to promote China, Mexico-Canada trade deals to farmers
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, after signing a trade agreement in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump is expected to discuss new U.S. trade agreements with its North American neighbors and with China during an appearance Sunday at a convention of American farmers.

When Trump spoke to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention last year, he urged farmers to continue supporting him even as they suffered financially in the fallout from his trade war with China and a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Trump’s follow-up speech Sunday in Austin, Texas, will give him a chance to make the case to farmers that he kept two promises on trade that he made as a candidate – to improve trade with China and separately with Canada and Mexico – and that farmers stand to benefit from both pacts.

Trump signed a preliminary trade deal with China at the White House last Wednesday that commits Beijing to boosting its imports of U.S. manufacturing, energy and farm goods by $200 billion this year and next. That includes larger purchases of soybeans and other farm goods expected to reach $40 billion a year, the U.S. has said, though critics wonder if China can meet the targets.

Also last week, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a successor to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. The administration designed the new agreement to return some factory production to the United States, mostly automobiles.

NAFTA had triggered a surge in trade among the three countries, but Trump and other critics blamed it for U.S. job losses brought about when American factories moved production south of the border to take advantage of low-wage labor in Mexico.

The House passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal in December and Trump is expected to sign it soon.