Sep 13 2016
Senator Has Long Fought for Strong Trade Enforcement and to Open Foreign Markets for North Dakota Farmers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today joined top lawmakers and federal officials at a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) press conference to announce that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is bringing a World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance case against China, seeking to hold China accountable for trade violations that harm U.S. farmers.
“On top of challenging commodity prices, North Dakota farmers shouldn’t have to deal with China breaching trade commitments and making it tougher for us to get market value for our crops,” said Heitkamp. “When countries cheat on trade agreements and distort global markets, we need to hold them accountable, and that’s what the U.S. Trade Representative and the Secretary of Agriculture are doing today. Addressing Chinese over-subsidization can help support the price of U.S. wheat and corn, and that’s good news for North Dakota farmers.”
Currently, China is subsidizing its domestically produced corn, wheat, and rice at levels that breach its WTO commitments to keep domestic support spending below levels that distort global markets. Just last year, China provided nearly $100 billion more in subsidies for Indica rice, Japonica rice, wheat, and corn than their WTO commitments allowed.
China’s subsidization of wheat alone results in $653 million in lost U.S. export revenue each year. North Dakota was the top wheat producer in the U.S. in 2015, meaning the state’s producers are heavily impacted by Chinese subsidization that violates trade agreements.
As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture and Ranking Member on Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, Heitkamp has worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen programs that are critical to North Dakota families and farmers – including efforts to expand foreign markets for North Dakota crops.
Earlier this year, Heitkamp called on U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to protect North Dakota grain growers from unfair treatment, after a report she requested demonstrated that Canada is segregating North Dakota grain and offering unfair prices to U.S. producers at Canadian elevators.