Smith Supports Effort to Challenge Chinese Price Distortion on Agriculture Products

Sep 13, 2016 Issues: Agriculture, Trade, Ways & Means
Smith speaks at today’s press conference on new trade enforcement action against China.
Smith Supports Effort to Challenge Chinese Price Distortion on Agriculture Products

    
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) joined U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and a bipartisan delegation of congressional leaders today to show his support for a new trade enforcement action against China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a result of its excessive government support for Chinese production of rice, wheat, and corn.  
 
China is currently subsidizing domestic production of these three crops far more than its WTO commitments allow. In 2015, Chinese subsidies exceeded the agreed upon levels by nearly $100 billion. These violations have distorted prices in the Chinese market and put U.S. agriculture producers at a disadvantage.
 
Smith’s remarks:
 
Good afternoon. It’s great to be here. I represent the Third District of Nebraska, and proudly, Ambassador [Darci] Vetter’s home district and the largest agriculture district in the country.

This is a very welcome announcement, and it is an important first step to bring much-needed relief to my constituents in the Third District of Nebraska.

China represents a large and growing market for agriculture exports, and American producers – the most effective and innovative producers in the world – are well-positioned to meet Chinese demand.

Unfortunately, China continues to adopt protectionist policies which not only close their markets to U.S. producers but also suppress the prices of commodities on the world market.

All too often, I hear our response should be to turn inward, build our own barriers to trade, and avoid negotiating future trade agreements.

Nothing could be more wrong.

It is through our membership in the WTO and trade agreements that we are able to encourage our trading partners to adopt free market policies.

This is especially true in the agriculture sector, where unscientific regulations are routinely used as non-tariff trade barriers.

China is guilty of this as well but is certainly not the only offender.

American biotech products are routinely delayed around the world, not out of food safety concerns but to protect foreign producers from competition.

Fortunately, pending trade agreements offer an opportunity for the U.S. to ensure the rules for international trade in agriculture are based on sound science, not protectionism.

With 96 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our country, trade agreements create opportunity for U.S. agriculture, and so long as the U.S. maintains a leadership role, I am confident American producers will continue to meet the demands of an ever-growing population around the world. Thank you very much.
 
Smith has continually pressed for fair treatment for U.S. agriculture products in China’s marketplace. In September 2015, Smith sent a letter to President Obama signed by 105 bipartisan Members of Congress urging him to make biotech approvals a priority issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
 
Smith is the founder and co-chairman of the Modern Agriculture Caucus and a member of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee.