39 Senators Sign Letter to President
U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today led 37 Senators in a letter to President Donald J. Trump asking him to prioritize reopening China’s market to U.S. beef in his discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.
“Opening this market to U.S. producers would create substantial opportunities for farmers and ranchers across the country as China has an import market in excess of $2.5 billion and is the second largest importer of beef in the world,” the Senators wrote. “The current environment of low commodity prices further emphasizes the significance of trade to U.S. farmers and ranchers and the beef industry overall.”
The Senators also underscored the quality of U.S. beef and the importance of expanding trade opportunities to increase economic opportunity for farmers and ranchers.
“We are confident that given a level-playing field, U.S. farmers and ranchers can compete successfully and increase exports in any foreign market,” the Senators continued.
The letter is also signed by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Todd Young (R-IN), Al Franken (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), John Barrasso, M.D. (R-WY), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Michael Rounds (R-SD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Boozman (R-AR), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rob Portman (R-OH), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Joni K. Ernst (R-IA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Rand Paul (R-KY), James Risch (R-ID), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Thune (R-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND), Luther Strange (R-AL). John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), James Inhofe (R-OK) and James Lankford (R-OK).
The Senators’ letter was applauded by farmers and ranchers:
Errol Rice, Executive Vice President, Montana Stockgrowers Association: “The Montana Stockgrowers Association applauds the efforts being led, by Senator Daines and Senator Tester, urging President Trump to quickly resolve all hurdles, currently preventing Montana’s ranchers from shipping the nation’s highest quality beef to China’s 1.3 billion consumers.”
Nicole Rolf, National Affairs Director, Montana Farm Bureau Federation: “When China announced that they would lift their ban on U.S. beef, Montana ranchers were elated by what we hoped would lead to expanded export markets and corresponding price increases. However, these potential opportunities are yet to be realized. We thank the Senators for sending this letter and hope President Trump will take the opportunity to raise this important issue with President Xi.”
United States Cattlemen’s Association President Kenny Graner: “The United States Cattlemen’s Association appreciates the leadership of Senator Daines and Senator Tester in urging the reopening of China’s market to U.S. beef. Success in this arena is critical for U.S. cattle producers, as it will drive increased optimism in the cattle market.”
The Senators’ letter is available for download HERE.
Dear Mr. President:
We write in advance of your upcoming summit with President Xi Jinping and urge you to raise the critical issue of U.S. beef being denied access to China’s market since 2003. We request that you prioritize reaching an agreement that reopens China’s market to U.S. beef during your meetings with President Xi and direct all relevant federal agencies to do the same.
As you know, China lifted its ban on U.S. beef last September, but technical barriers remain and U.S. beef has yet to gain access to the Chinese market. Opening this market to U.S. producers would create substantial opportunities for farmers and ranchers across the country as China has an import market in excess of $2.5 billion and is the second largest importer of beef in the world. As 95% of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S., expanding access for U.S. beef into China and elsewhere is critical for the long-term growth of the agricultural economy and communities across the U.S. The current environment of low commodity prices further emphasizes the significance of trade to U.S. farmers and ranchers and the beef industry overall.
The U.S. produces the highest quality of beef in the world, and ensuring that U.S. beef is treated fairly and foreign tax and regulatory barriers are lowered is of utmost importance. We are confident that given a level-playing field, U.S. farmers and ranchers can compete successfully and increase exports in any foreign market.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to working with you and your administration to open the Chinese market to U.S. beef.