WACO, Texas - The House Appropriations Committee's rejection of $21.2 million requested by the White House to establish compliance by China with trade agreements is an affront to family farmers and ranchers.
"TFU has long insisted that any trade pact with China must be accompanied by a mechanism for swift meaningful responses to unfair trade practices and violations of trade agreements by this nation that has a history of noncompliance," said TFU President Wes Sims. "It is TFU's position that the United States must have the means to take immediate action if ongoing verifcation efforts demonstrate that China has not fully complied with the terms of their trade agreements. This can only happen with a commitment to fairness and the funding to carry it out."
The measure, sponsored by Rep. David Obey, D-Wisconsin, would have added $21.2 million to an appropriations bill funding the Justice, Commerce and State departments. The funds would be utilized to provide for accelerated investigations of compliance on the part of the Chinese government.
"This vote is a slap to family farmers and ranchers who, in exchange for their increased exposure to the effects of world market imports, were promised increased export opportunities and the chance to boast crisis-level farm incomes," said Sims. "With China already dumping commodities on the world market, we need to be diligent in our efforts to ensure they live up to their part in this landmark trade pact."
TFU has consistently emphasized the need for mechanisms to ensure China's compliance with PNTR. This includes annual reviews that monitor compliance in the areas of tariffs and and tariff rate quota reductions, elimination of export subsidies and any use of non-tariff trade barriers. The family farm organization also emphasized the need for accurate data regarding the terms of compliance.
"We cannot expect America's farmers and ranchers to bear the risk of this sweeping economic experiment without appropriate safeguards," added Sims. "By not funding this important initiative, efforts to create a more fair trading arena for family farmers and ranchers is fundamentally compromised."
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