The Texas Farmers Union knows the importance of trade for our nation's economy, especially agriculture, and is a strong proponent of fair trade. TFU believes that trade agreements must put the interests of the American family farmer and rancher first.
"It is vitally important that any agreement that establishes Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China achieve its goals and objectives in order to benefit U.S. production agriculture as well as other sectors," stated TFU President Wes Sims. "We must not unilaterally disarm our nation's ability to respond if China fails to comply with commitments contained in the agreement."
TFU believes that the following issues should be addressed in the deliberations of the PNTR agreement with China:
1) The PNTR agreement with China must operate under a "trust but verify" policy. A timely annual verification by Congress, completed within 60 days of the anniversary of the agreement, that China has carried out or met all PNTR goals. The U.S. must have a dispute resolution process outside the WTO because that has not worked for America's farmers, workers and consumers in the past.
2) The United States must have authority, outside of the WTO resolution process, to immediately respond if the annual verification report shows that China has not complied with the terms of the agreement outlined above.
3) The annual verification needs to report whether China has or has not provided the date relevant to determining their full compliance with the terms of the PNTR agreement, including any third country activities.
4) The annual verification needs to include a report on action(s) taken by the U.S. to respond to Chinese exports, that cause or threaten market disruption of any commodity, service or goods, including testiles, per the PNTR agreement.
5) The annual verification needs to report on actions taken by China to enhance and protect individual rights, opportunities and compliance with United Nations covenants on human rights.
6) Congress needs to establish, within the Trade adjustment Assistance Act, a program to directly compensate farmers and ranchers for economic losses because of import surges or loss of market opportunities because of unfair trade barriers, including currency variances and fluctuations.
Sims concluded, "These steps can provide the opportunity to establish a fair trade agreement that puts the interest of the American family farmer and rancher first and increases the sales volume and value of U.S. agricultural commodities and products."
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