Hoeven Holds Trade Roundtable with North Dakota Agriculture Groups

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today held a roundtable with North Dakota agriculture groups, including representatives from the North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Farm Service Agency, North Dakota Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Genotyping Center, North Dakota Corn Growers, Northern Canola Growers, National Sunflower Association, North Dakota Grain Growers, North Dakota Soybean Growers, I-BAND, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, North Dakota Ethanol Producers Association and North Dakota Durum Growers Association. 

Hoeven discussed his efforts to help expand and open markets for North Dakota agriculture and outlined his meeting last week with the President where they discussed trade issues. Specifically, Hoeven has been working to: 

  • Develop a strategy to move the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) through both the U.S House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
  • Press the administration to advance trade negotiations with China as well as trade negotiations that the administration is undertaking with Japan.
  • Encourage additional commodity sales and the opening of new markets while trade negotiations continue. 

“Our farmers and ranchers are the best in the world, and when given a level playing field, can compete in any market,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we’re working to secure better trade deals for our producers. We understand our farmers and ranchers need certainty, which is why we’ve been pressing the administration to advance the USMCA and to finalize trade negotiations with China and Japan as soon as possible. At the same time, we continue to work to secure additional commodity sales while trade negotiation continue.”   

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

The senator has been working with the administration to advance trade with Canada and Mexico. Specifically, he is working to:

  • Eliminate Canada’s Downgrade of U.S. Wheat: Hoeven worked to ensure that the USMCA eliminates Canada’s automatic downgrade of imported U.S. wheat to feed grade, to help make certain that grading standards and services are non-discriminatory.
  • Lift Section 232 Tariffs: Hoeven led the North Dakota delegation in urging the administration to lift the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico while Congress considers the USMCA. Doing so would aid in the removal of Canada and Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs against U.S. agriculture producers, as well as help lower prices for farmers who rely on equipment made with steel.

Trade with China

Hoeven continues to urge the administration to resolve trade negotiations with China as soon as possible to address China’s unfair trade practices and provide better access to Chinese markets, particularly for farmers and ranchers. Additionally, the Senator has pressed for:

  • Commodity Purchases: At the White House, Hoeven encouraged the administration to push for further commodity purchases like China’s recent commitment to buy an additional 10 million metric tons of soybeans. Hoeven has also raised the same points in recent conversations with Vice President Mike Pence, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council and the president’s chief economic advisor.
  • Fresh Potato Exports: Hoeven joined a bipartisan, bicameral group in urging the administration to prioritize market access for U.S. potato growers as it continues trade negotiations with China. Access to the Chinese market for fresh potatoes would support significant economic growth for producers, and accordingly, this priority has been included on every bilateral agenda between the two nations since 2000.
  • WTO Ruling Against China: The senator fully backed the U.S. Trade Representative’s World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance case against China. The WTO recently ruled China’s price supports for wheat and other grains are in violation of WTO rules.

Trade with Brazil

In advance of President Trump’s meeting with the president of Brazil earlier this week, Hoeven wrote to encourage the administration to prioritize the elimination of trade barriers to U.S. wheat exports with Brazil, which is the second largest economy in the western hemisphere. Following that meeting, the administration announced that Brazil will allow the importation of 750,000 tons of wheat without tariffs. 

Brazil also agreed to science-based conditions to allow the importation of U.S. pork. In return, the Trump Administration will direct USDA to schedule a technical visit to audit Brazil’s raw beef inspection system before allowing for the resumption of Brazil’s beef exports. Hoeven said he will urge the Administration to hold Brazil to the strictest health standards before agreeing to any beef imports.