Secretary of State Talks to Iowa Farmers

IOWA -- A Major diplomat was in Iowa on Monday talking to farmers about international trade deals.

The Iowa Farm Bureau hosted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates to speak to Iowans on a number of issues but with a focus on China negotiations. Namely the difficulties they have with protectionism and intellectual property theft, Pompeo says they need to get that resolved before a deal is reached.

He says these deals need mechanisms that against a Chinese judicial system that causes legal headaches, "The issue of opening up markets and access is a hard one for sure, but not the hardest of the issues. I think we'll actually get to a place where the Chinese will, put us in a place, where they'll buy more soybeans, buy more American products. I think we'll be successful in that. The more complicated issues are around the structural challenges."

In the meantime, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are to meet after Trump delayed a March 1 tariff increase of 10 to 25 percent set to be imposed on Chinese goods.

Ambassador to China and former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad introduced Pompeo on Monday. He says the relationship between both leaders is good but they have saved the toughest topics for last.

Branstad says, "Whatever we do needs to be something that will be enforceable. They have so often promised to do these things, and then failed to follow through."

In response to farmer questions on other trade issues, Pompeo says he expects the U.S. Mexico, Canada Agreement to be ratified by the end of the year. He sees a bilateral agreement with Japan coming soon. And he is making strides to a bilateral or piecemeal deal with Vietnam.

However, he wants to make sure deals do not fall apart, "[There is] a long history of us having celebrations, having signing ceremonies, everyone thinking, 'boy we've put this problem to rest. Only to find in relatively short order we didn't really solve much."

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