Hoeven: Sugar Agreement Important for Red River Valley

Senator Pushed Commerce Secretary to Stop Unfair Trade Practices, USDA Secretary for Strict Enforcement of Agreement

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee, today said that the agreement reached on sugar imports from Mexico is important for producers in the Red River Valley. Yesterday, the American Sugar Alliance expressed support for the agreement, which was negotiated by U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and will be enforced by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue.

At a hearing this week and in a meeting with Secretary Perdue, Hoeven pressed USDA to ensure strict enforcement of the agreement. Additionally, the senator spoke repeatedly with Secretary Ross throughout negotiations on the agreement to ensure that U.S. producers aren’t harmed by unfair trade practices. 

“We worked with Commerce Secretary Ross to get an agreement on sugar and now with Agriculture Secretary Perdue to ensure that the agreement is strictly enforced,” said Hoeven. “That’s really important because sugar is such a big industry for our farmers in the Red River Valley.” 

The senator is working to expand access to foreign markets and ensure fair treatment for North Dakota’s agriculture industry. Among other things, his efforts include:

  • Serving as a member of the Senate-House Conference Committee that crafted the final farm bill of 2014, which directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create an undersecretary of trade and foreign agricultural affairs. USDA recently announced plans to create the position to help grow foreign markets for U.S. agriculture.
  • Pressing the Administration to reach an agreement with China to open the country to U.S. beef imports. Earlier this month, the Commerce Department announced it had reached an agreement to export U.S. beef to China.
  • Backing the U.S. Trade Representative in bringing a compliance case against China in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Under its WTO obligations, China would have imported as much as $3.5 billion worth of additional U.S. wheat, corn and rice in 2015 alone.
  • Ensuring domestic honey producers receive all of the proceeds collected from settlements.