Hoeven Presses Perdue on Importance of Trade Agreements, Commodity Purchases as Negotiations Continue

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven pressed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on the importance of securing better trade deals for the nation’s farmers and ranchers. The senator stressed that agriculture producers need trade certainty, and as negotiations continue, the administration should push for further commodity purchases. 

In response, Perdue highlighted China’s commitment last week to purchase an additional 10 million metric tons of soybeans and outlined the opportunity for additional purchases in upcoming trade negotiations. Hoeven raised these same points in recent conversations with Vice President Mike Pence and Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council and the president’s chief economic advisor.

“Our farmers and ranchers have commodities piling up around the nation, and we need to get those products moving,” said Hoeven. “Finalizing trade agreements is still the ultimate goal, but as the administration continues its negotiations, it should also work to secure additional purchases. That is the case we made to Secretary Perdue, Vice President Pence and Director Kudlow, and we will continue to advance this priority to provide greater certainty for our agriculture producers.”

The hearing comes as part of Hoeven’s ongoing efforts to ensure the administration resolves its trade negotiations as soon as possible, providing better access to foreign markets, particularly for farmers and ranchers. To this end, Hoeven recently led the North Dakota delegation in urging the administration to lift the Section 232 tariffs against steel and aluminum while Congress considers the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (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.