Illinois farmers, manufacturers push for trade agreements

By Greg Bishop
The Center Square
Updated 8/28/2019 1:23 PM

Chicago's Federal Reserve branch projects slower economic growth. Illinois' major industries say getting trade deals in place with Canada, Mexico and Japan would be a boost for growth.

Among the central bank's measurements, total industrial product decreased as did manufacturing production. That points to slower economic growth. Illinois Manufacturers' Association President Mark Denzler said trade deals would reverse that.


"If we could get trade agreements (the United States Mexico Canada Agreement) done, Japan I think there's an agreement, and certainly something done with China," Denzler said, "I think would provide a huge boon to the manufacturing sector, to the agricultural community and certainly we'd see it reflected in the economy because certainly we know we can sell products."

The USMCA trade deal is pending in Congress.

During the G7 meeting last weekend in France, President Donald Trump announced an agreement in principle with Japan for trade, including agricultural products. Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebuert said that will be big for Illinois producers, especially since Trump pulled out of the Transpacific Partnership .

"Get (the Japan/US deal) inked on paper, then we can move on," Guebert said. "A great boon for Illinois corn, Illinois wheat, Illinois pork and dairy. It's just great if we can get that deal signed."

When it comes to China, things are shaky, Guebert said.

"It's been on again, off again, and we kind of knew this was going to drag on for quite some time," Guebert said. "There's a lot of pushing and pulling going on between two of the largest countries in the world."

Denzler said getting a deal with China would be huge.

"Certainly for years China has been cheating the system, they've been stealing intellectual property, they've been dumping steel but we have to have a trade agreement that puts some parameters down because they are an important trading partner at the end of the day," Denzler said.

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