President Trump announced last week that he wants to find an additional $100 billion, in addition to the $50 billion that was initially proposed, to impose on China in an ongoing trade dispute. House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) issued the following statement:
“I appreciate President Trump and the administration’s efforts to enforce the terms of existing trade agreements. China’s illegal, retaliatory actions against unrelated sectors in the U.S., including agriculture, are the latest examples of the kind of predatory trade practices routinely employed by China against U.S. farmers and ranchers, which our committee has highlighted for years. By working to hold foreign countries accountable to the commitments they agreed to, we can better achieve a global market that is truly fair. International trade today would be far healthier and more robust, and support at home for trade would be much stronger had previous administrations more aggressively challenged nations that so egregiously renege on their commitments.
“I urge the administration to do all they can to minimize the negative impacts on U.S. agriculture and thank both the president and Sec. Perdue for their firm commitment to stand by America’s farmers and ranchers using the broad legal authority Congress has granted them. Given the extraordinary circumstances, I also hope that Members of Congress will put aside any partisan rancor and join forces to deliver a strong, new farm bill on time.”
In September 2016, the U.S. announced plans to file a formal challenge in the WTO concerning China’s illegal excess farm subsidies that topped $100 billion in a single year for three crops alone. Recent reports suggest that China is expanding this illegal subsidy scheme to soybeans rather than living up to its trade commitments. While the current trade disputes should be governed by rules and limited to the issues at hand, China’s illegal proliferation of the dispute to apply to a whole litany of unrelated products has created uncertainty and hardship for America’s farmers and ranchers.