U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines secured an agreement between JD.com, one of China’s largest retailers and the Montana Stockgrowers Association with the intent to purchase a minimum of $200 million in Montana-sourced beef over the next several years. JD.com will also seek to invest up to another $100 million to build a processing plant in Montana to support Montana beef production, with construction beginning as early as 2018.
While President Donald Trump is in China to grow and strengthen the American economy, Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association and JD.com signed the agreement. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Jr. and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang were in attendance to witness the signing of this agreement.
“This landmark agreement has the potential to substantially increase Montana opportunity and agricultural exports to the fastest growing overseas market for beef,” Daines stated. “This is a win for Montana’s hardworking ranchers.”
This agreement follows Daines’ agricultural roundtable in Belgrade, Montana where Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, Chinese business representatives and Montana agricultural leaders discussed potential opportunities for expanding the relationship between Montana producers and Chinese consumers.
Errol Rice, Executive Vice President, Montana Stockgrowers Association: “The Montana Stockgrowers Association thanks Sen. Daines for his work on expanding opportunities and access to overseas markets for Montana ranchers, particularly in lifting the ban on U.S. beef in China earlier this year. While there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, this MOA represents a great step in the right direction for selling more U.S. beef in China and developing productive relationships between Montana ranchers and Chinese consumers.”
Kenny Graner, President, United States Cattlemen’s Association: “Finding additional opportunities for U.S. beef in foreign markets is crucial to strengthening the bottom line of U.S. cattle producers. We commend Errol Rice, Fred Wacker, the Montana Stockgrowers Association and Senator Steve Daines for their efforts in bringing this partnership to Montana. This is exactly the sort of forward-thinking solution that is needed to open up new markets for U.S. beef products and ensure that we leave a successful and profitable future for generations of Montana producers. We encourage other parts of the country to follow this example and seek out their own innovative solutions to increase market access, and therefore economic opportunity, for U.S. cattle producers.”
Fred Wacker, Owner/Operator, Cross Four Ranch: “China’s market has the potential to be a game-changer for Cross Four Ranch and Montana ranchers more broadly. The MOA shows how much interest there is in China for high quality cattle and beef from Montana and the U.S. and I appreciate Senator Steve Daines’ efforts to help connect me with potential Chinese buyers.”
JD.com intends to import Montana-sourced beef from MSGA members to China for direct sale to the 258 million Chinese consumers on its e-commerce platform. The procurement agreement is proposed for an initial three years, with a minimum commitment of $200 million in beef to be imported by JD.com from MSGA members at fair market value during the term. If fulfilled, it is estimated that JD.com’s purchase of beef will increase Montana beef export sales by as much as 40 percent in 2018.
Click HERE to read the official signing agreement and click HERE to read the initial business agreement signed on October 23 by Errol Rice, Executive Vice President, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Fred Wacker, Owner/Operator, Cross Four Ranch, Richard Liu, Chairman & CEO, JD.com, Inc. and Chen Xu, President & CEO of Bank of China USA.
Daines was the leader in working to end the ban on U.S. beef to China:
On September 9, 2017, Daines hosted Ambassador Cui TianKai in Montana to discuss opportunities to ship Montana beef to China.
On June 12, 2017, Daines announced that an agreement has been reached to begin shipping U.S. beef to China.
On June 10, 2017, Daines wrote an editorial following the Montana Ag Summit about the importance of agriculture and trade to the future of jobs in Montana.
On June 1, 2017, Daines co-hosted the Montana Ag Summit in Great Falls, Montana that brought together the nation’s top agricultural leaders: the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, and the U.S. Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts.
On May 12, 2017, Daines announced that an agreement was reached to open Chinese markets to U.S. beef no later than July 16, 2017.
On April 17, 2017, Daines returned from leading an official congressional delegation trip to China where he hand-delivered four Montana steaks from Miles City to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and pressed Chinese officials to finalize negotiations and re-open Chinese markets to U.S. beef. Daines also hand-delivered a letter from the Montana Stockgrowers Association to Premier Li.
On April 5, 2017, Daines led 38 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.
On March 23, 2017, during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, Daines pressed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on the importance expanding trade opportunities for Montana agriculture.
On March 9, 2017, Daines met with the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer. During the meeting Daines hand-delivered a letter urging him to prioritize opening Chinese markets to U.S. beef.
On February 1, 2017, Daines met with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue and discussed expanding access to foreign markets for Montana agriculture, including reaching an agreement to allow Montana beef into China.
On January 18, 2017, Daines met with the Secretary for the U.S. Department of State, Rex Tillerson, where they discussed opening Chinese markets to U.S. beef imports.
On January 4, 2017, Daines met with the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, urging him to prioritize expanding access to foreign markets for Montana agricultural products, including opening China’s market to U.S. beef.
On December 6, 2016, Daines wrote to then President-elect Trump urging him to level the playing field for Montana producers by working to open Chinese markets to U.S. beef.
On October 5, 2016, Daines penned an editorial on the importance of ending the ban on U.S. beef imports for Montana producers.
On September 22, 2016, Daines welcomed news that China would begin to end the ban on U.S. beef that began in 2003.
In May 2016, Daines led a congressional delegation fact-finding mission to China. During the visit, the first issue Daines pressed the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang on was ending the ban on U.S. beef.
Daines also hand-delivered a letter from the Montana Stockgrowers Association to Zhang.
On July 13, 2016, Daines pressed Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai on opening open their market to Montana beef.
Daines spent almost six years in China with Procter and Gamble expanding markets for American brands and products to Chinese consumers.