Daines meets in Beijing with top Chinese officials

Republican Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and David Perdue of Georgia met Monday in Beijing with top Chinese legislator Li Zhanshu, according to the official state-run news agency for the People’s Republic of China.

Li, chair of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), according to the news agency Xinhuanet, said history has proven that China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation and a healthy China-U.S. relationship meets the common interests of both countries and the world. He said this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. 

The news agency reported that Li said NPC is ready to work with the U.S. Congress to enhance cooperation and to properly handle differences and sensitive issues through dialogue and constructive means. The meeting comes as both countries are engaged in a tariff war. President Donald Trump has long been critical of the tariffs, saying they have put the United States at a disadvantage to China.

Daines and Perdue said they would make efforts to promote mutual understanding between the two governments and the two peoples, Xinhuanet reported. Wang Chen, vice chair of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, met with Daines and Perdue earlier Monday, Xinhuanet reported.

Daines told the Tribune recently he was going to China to continue dialogue on trade negotiations, focusing mostly on agriculture issues. He is expected to return to the United States on Thursday.

Daines, a former executive for Procter & Gamble who lived in China for 5 1/2 years, said in 2017 he secured an agreement between JD.com, one of China’s largest retailers, and the Montana Stockgrowers Association to buy a minimum of $200 million in Montana-sourced beef over the next several years.

The Xinhuanet story was posted on the Western Word blog on Tuesday. You can view it at http://bit.ly/2lS7xp7

Daines is running for re-election to the Senate in 2020, one of his Democratic opponents, Wilmot Collins, called the visit a “slap” to the face of American workers whose jobs were outsourced.

Other Democrats in the race are John Mues and Jack Ballard.