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     WASHINGTON (MNI)  - U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chair Charles Grassley
said he is not concerned about China avoiding agricultural purchases agreed to
in the Phase One trade deal even as the coronavirus outbreak may slow demand. 
     A slowing Chinese economy would "inhibit" those purchases, he told
reporters at a briefing Thursday.  "You got to be worried about that, but I
don't think it's a change of policy."
     It will probably take a year to figure out if China has followed through,
he said. That timeframe would put it beyond the next U.S. Presidential election,
and Donald Trump led the push for China to boost farm purchases under threat of
massive tariffs.
     "We're going to be able to measure that very clearly on agriculture,"
though the U.S. "may not be able to measure it on intellectual property," he
said.
     Grassley's comments are more measured than a month ago when he told
agricultural reporters that if the Chinese are not meeting their Phase One
obligation, then "they can count on the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
to call them on it."
     The Iowa Senator said over the last two years "there was a great deal of
anxiety, chiefly among farmers," and that "I don't sense that anxiety now." 
     Some industry officials agree, with American Farm Bureau representatives
telling MNI earlier that the Phase One agreement should revitalize their
industry.
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 202 371 2121; email: ryan.hauser@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: MTABLE,MAQDS$,MAUDS$,M$A$$$,M$Q$$$,M$U$$$,MC$$$$,MI$$$$,MGQ$$$,MGU$$$]

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