After today’s signing of the China trade agreement, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said, “In January of 2017, few believed that President Trump could successfully renegotiate NAFTA or new trade terms with China. Even fewer believed that any changes made would eliminate the unfair trading practices of our trading partners in North America or the predatory trading practices of China that have long injured the United States.
“Those critics have no ground to stand on today. The president has negotiated the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to preserve and expand access for America’s farmers and ranchers to vital Canadian and Mexican markets, and has now signed phase one of a U.S.-China agreement that begins a longer process of finally holding China accountable to its trade commitments and to principles of truly free and fair trade.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who was at the White House, said, “It’s a good day for American businesses, especially farmers and ranchers. This agreement is a big step toward a stronger, more reliable trading relationship between the U.S. and China. I’m glad to see this administration holding China accountable. And, I look forward to seeing this framework established and launching the next phase of this important agreement.”
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said, “Beginning in 2015, then presidential-candidate Donald Trump promised to defend America’s farmers and workers and renegotiate the unfair trade policies between the United States and our trading partners. Since then, President Trump and his administration have stood behind that promise and today, are delivering a strong and enforceable commitment from China, leveling the playing field for America’s farmers, workers, manufacturers, and businesses.
“The historic agreement signed today takes a strong stand for American jobs and America’s workers,” Lucas added. “It protects America’s intellectual property, ends China’s unfair technology transfer process, opens financial services markets, and, most importantly, expands American agriculture, energy, and manufacture sales to China.
In 2018, Oklahoma exported $239 million worth of goods to China, including $96 million worth of agricultural products. Today’s agreement is positive news for Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers and begins the process of holding China accountable to its trade commitments.”
House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said, “This is a historic day for American workers and businesses. President Trump, Trade Ambassador Lighthizer, and Secretary Mnuchin are achieving what no White House has before them: a strong, real and enforceable commitment from China to end unfair trade practices and level the playing field for American workers, manufacturers, farmers, and businesses.
“This agreement includes many of America’s top priorities: protecting America’s intellectual property, ending China’s practice of forcing U.S. companies to transfer technology simply to do business in their country, and tearing down structural barriers that are preventing American farmers and businesses from competing fairly in China,” Brady said. “It also tackles currency manipulation, opens the financial services markets, and dramatically expands American agriculture sales to China.”
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who was at the White House, said, “This deal is a major victory for the United States and for North Dakota. It includes China committing to purchase $200 billion of American products over two years, with $40 billion for agricultural goods, while also pledging to stop intellectual property theft and currency manipulation.”
Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., said, “This agreement is very important for our farmers and ranchers, as China has agreed to purchase $40 billion-$50 billion in agriculture products as well as reduce barriers. Under the agreement, China committed to increase purchases of U.S. agriculture goods to $40 billion-50 billion in 2020 and 2021, including crops like soybeans and wheat, but also beef, pork and dairy. The agriculture purchases are part of an overall commitment by China to increase purchases of all U.S. goods over a 2017 baseline by $200 billion over the next two years.”
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said, “President Trump’s trade strategy is clearly producing positive results. We already have new historic trade agreements with South Korea and Japan, as well as Mexico and Canada. Now, this phase one agreement with China will help American workers, farmers, and businesses gain equal access to Chinese markets and will keep up momentum as further negotiations continue.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who attended the ceremony, said, “President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer should be commended for this significant progress toward a full and enforceable deal with China. Farmers have borne the brunt of retaliation throughout this trade war. At the White House today, I was thinking of my neighbors in Iowa and all the other farmers across the country who have stood strong throughout this process. I hope this proves to be a turning point in our economic relationship with China, but I’ve seen enough history to be clear-eyed. Not only must China follow through with its commitments in this phase one deal, but also work toward a comprehensive agreement that ends forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft and unfair restrictions on U.S. goods, including agriculture. Only then will we know if China can be a reliable economic partner in the 21st century.”
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa, D-Calif., said they were cautiously optimistic about the deal.
“My district produces everything from dairy, meat and poultry, to feed and pet food, to alfalfa and ethanol. This agreement appears to include positive structural changes and commitments that could increase access to the Chinese market for those and other products produced in districts across the country,” said Peterson. “I appreciate the negotiators and staff at USTR and USDA who have worked so hard to get us to this point. The question now is whether China will play by the rules it has agreed to here. I’m also concerned that, long-term, certain crops may not regain the foothold they lost in the trade war. If those purchases don’t materialize, I worry what effects that will have on the markets for crops like soybeans and sorghum.”
“At every turn, the American people have picked up the tab for the president’s trade war, which has strained hard-working American families and farmers. I am happy to see some progress,” added Costa, “but I will closely review this agreement to determine the impact on agriculture and working people in my district and nationwide. It’s not immediately clear that these new purchases will make up for what we’ve lost along the way. The key is getting the Chinese to stick to their commitments and prove that they will honor international agreements with western democracies that live by rules-based economies.”
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said, “For two years, I have encouraged the administration to aim high in negotiations with China, urging them not to give in to the temptation to settle for superficial wins. I have reinforced the importance of holding for China to commit to structural changes that will make a real difference to American workers and companies seeking to compete and trade with those in China. Despite today’s elaborate ceremony, the jury is still out on how ‘historic’ this deal is. In calling it a ‘phase one’ deal, the administration admits that there are other important commitments they have not yet been able to secure, especially disciplines on China’s use of unfair subsidies.”
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said, “For too long, an out-of-control trade war has severely limited the ability of central Virginia businesses and farms to access critical markets abroad. I’m carefully reviewing the details of this new agreement, but I’m hopeful that the signing of this trade deal can be a positive first step toward bringing back access to the Chinese market and restoring Chinese purchases of U.S products that have been dramatically reduced due to the trade war. However, words on a page are no substitute for actually getting products to market — and most existing tariffs on Chinese imports are still in place. Going forward, central Virginia producers and businesses need to see a clear strategy from the administration focused on ending this reckless trade war and re-establishing critical relationships between U.S. producers and Chinese buyers. Central Virginia farms and businesses deserve that peace of mind.”
Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said, “Addressing China’s lengthy track record of predatory commercial practices — including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer and economic espionage — is critical for American workers. The stakes could not be higher for the future of the U.S. economy. While I want this deal to resolve our fundamental concerns with China, I fear that its limited scope, the lack of transparency in its development and the weak enforcement mechanism mean it will amount to little more than words on paper.”
Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, said, “As this administration has pursued a prolonged trade war with China, Iowa farmers have been the ones to pay the price.
“As I’ve traveled through southwest Iowa, I have heard concerns directly from farmers I represent in Washington — concerns about how long this trade war has gone on, how difficult it will be to reclaim lost markets, and how deep the seeds of uncertainty have been laid as a result of protracted tensions with China.
“I’m hopeful that today’s phase one agreement with China puts us on a path to ending this harmful trade war, and I will closely monitor the implementation to ensure Iowans are receiving what they’re promised,” Axne added.