Newhouse calls on Biden to address China’s non-compliance with agricultural trade commitments

WASHINGTON DC – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) joined Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS), August Pfluger (R-TX), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and 56 of his colleagues to send a letter to President Joe Biden. urging him to address the imbalance in agricultural trade relations between the United States and China.

“We are writing to express our concern about our trade relationship with China and urge you to work with United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai to make the agricultural trade relationship between the United States United and China more balanced and reciprocal”, writes lawmakers.

They continued“More than two years ago, on January 15, 2020, the United States and China signed the two-year Phase One Trade Agreement which, among other things, required China to make structural reforms to its trade regime and to import US$73.9 billion in agricultural production.As you know, China has not fulfilled its commitment to the United States to purchase almost US$16 billion in additional agricultural products in 2020 and 2021 combined.”

They concluded, “we urge you to take immediate action to rectify the imbalanced agricultural trade relationship with China; working on new enforceable commitments from China; and pursue additional trade agreements with other markets favorable to US agricultural products. Any solution must address all of the issues, including market access, administrative licensing, sourcing, and localization, comprehensively and holistically. You must act now for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers. »

The text of the full letter can be found here and below:

Dear President Biden:

We are writing to express our concern about our trade relationship with China and urge you to work with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to make U.S. agricultural trade relations and China more balanced and reciprocal.

More than two years ago, on January 15, 2020, the United States and China signed the two-year Phase 1 trade agreement which, among other things, required China to make structural reforms to its trade regime. and import $73.9 billion worth of US agricultural products. . As you know, China has defaulted on its commitment to the United States to purchase almost $16 billion in additional agricultural products in 2020 and 2021 combined. We are concerned that China has failed to meet its phase one commitments, and that your administration has not adequately reported to Congress on China’s compliance, proposed enforcement actions on deficiencies of China, nor sought to negotiate new commitments from China, including on agriculture.

America must vigorously enforce its trade commitments. When asked if the United States would implement the phase one trade agreement with China, Secretary Vilsack said, “Ambassador Tai. . .continues to discuss with China the need for full and complete compliance with the Phase One trade agreement, closing that $16 billion shortfall over the next few years. When China agreed to buy $73.9 billion worth of agricultural products over a two-year period and failed to do so, it violated the terms of the phase one agreement. As such, the United States should fully enforce the agreement and receive damages from China for China’s non-performance.

America must pursue a new trade deal with China and seek to negotiate alternative trade deals with other countries that can expand access to the US agricultural market overseas. While we recognize that China imported significantly more US agricultural products in 2020 and again in 20213 than any other year in history, we also recognize that the amount has not been as promised, that inflation has reached its highest level in 40 years and that the cost of fertilizers is four or five times higher than at the same time last year. We are concerned that the absence of enforcement action sets a damaging precedent for future trade negotiations.

It is with these concerns in mind that we seek your detailed responses to the following questions:

  1. How will your administration report to Congress on areas where China has failed to meet its obligations under the phase one trade deal?
  2. Has your administration ever used the Phase One Agreement enforcement mechanism to address China’s violations of the agreement? If not, what steps has your administration taken to immediately hold China to account?
  3. Does your administration plan to negotiate a new, fully binding agreement that further levels the playing field with China to ensure that China continues to buy and import American agricultural products?
  4. In September 2021, Secretary Vilsack mentioned that you were in the final stages of vetting and appointing an Under Secretary of Commerce and Foreign Agricultural Affairs for the United States Department of Agriculture. When do you intend to make your final appointment for this post?

Again, we urge you to take immediate action to rectify the imbalanced agricultural trade relationship with China; working on new enforceable commitments from China; and pursue additional trade agreements with other markets favorable to US agricultural products. Any solution must address all of the issues, including market access, administrative licensing, sourcing, and localization, comprehensively and holistically. You must act now for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers.

We look forward to your prompt response.

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