Hoeven Statement After Administration, China Agree to Phase-One Trade Deal

Senator Discussed China Agreement, Outlined Need to Get USMCA in Place with U.S. Trade Representative

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement after the President and China agreed to a phase-one trade deal. Among other things, the agreement will require China to ramp up its purchases of U.S. agricultural products and in return, the U.S. will not impose 15 percent duties scheduled for December 15.

Hoeven spoke with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer earlier this week to discuss the progress on trade negotiations with China and outline the need to get the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in place as soon as possible. The senator also also received a briefing from USTR today. Hoeven has repeatedly made the case for restoring agriculture sales for crops like soybeans, which China is buying from other markets, and to reduce non-tariff barriers on agriculture products like beef. 

Under the agreement, which is expected to be signed in early January, China committed to increase purchases of U.S. agriculture goods to $40-50 billion in 2020 and 2021, including crops like soybeans and wheat, but also beef, pork and dairy. The agriculture purchases are part of an overall commitment by China to increase purchases of all U.S. goods over a 2017 baseline by $200 billion over the next two years. 

“Moving this phase-one trade deal forward with China is very important for our economy, especially for our farmers and ranchers, as it includes additional purchases of U.S. agriculture products as well as reduced tariffs,” said Hoeven. “We will continue urging the administration, as we did with Ambassador Lighthizer this week, to finalize the agreement as soon as possible. When I spoke with Ambassador Lighthizer, I emphasized that ag purchases need to be part of the phase one agreement, because we need to recapture that Chinese market for crops like soybeans, and expand it for products like beef. He assured me that ag purchases would be part of the agreement. We understand that China has committed to purchase about $40-$50 billion in ag purchases over the next two years, which is very important for our ag producers. At the same time, we need the House to get USMCA over to the Senate quickly so we can get it in place for our producers.”