WACO, TX - The Texas Farmers Union (TFU) said that it will work with Congress and the administration to implement fair and responsible trade rules for farmers and ranchers in the Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) agreement approved today by Congress, according to TFU President Wes Sims.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated that America's farmers and ranchers could expect to see an increase of $2 billion in exports to China with the approval of the trade agtrement. Some congressmen also stated that China will increase purchases of U.S. cotton by 3 million bales a year.
"American farmers and ranchers have been promised higher commmodity prices for livestock, grains, and other crops as a direct result of the significantly expanded export opportunities the agreement claims to provide," said Sims. "I hope these promises are realized."
TFU, which during the debate on PNTR had urged Congress to establish an annual compliance review process, will urge the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to hold yearly hearings to publicly review China's adherence to the agreement and the benefits of PNTR to farmers and ranchers.
"Monitoring China for compliance of agreed-to tariff reductions, tariff-rate quota reductions, export subsidy elimination, and for any surge of imports from or reduced imports to China because of currency devaluation must be a priority for USDA, the International Trade Commission, the United States Trade Representative, Congress and the administration," said Sims. "The long-standing statement, 'trust but verify,' associated with U.S. relations with China, needs to be applied to the implementation of this trade agreement."
As part of the PNTR debate, TFU had advocated for farmers and ranchers to be included in the Trade Adjustment assistance act. "It is imperative that Congress provide a program of direct compensation to producers for economic damage resulting from unfair trade practices by other countries; this is sound and fair trade policy," said Sims. "We urge Congress to act before they adjourn this year."
The Texas Farmers Union, a general farm organization of farm, ranch and rural families, is a strong advocate of fair trade for the benefit of family farmers and ranchers.
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