China must cut barriers to US ag exports: Grassley

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON – Following the release of a study by the US International Trade Commission that details Chinese government measures that limit US agricultural exports to China, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa called on China to reduce trade barriers to US agricultural products. Grassley is a senior member and former chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has exclusive jurisdiction over international trade.

“In joining the World Trade Organization, China committed to adhering to international trade rules,” Grassley said. “These rules include eliminating non-tariff trade barriers that have no basis in science or that exist just to prop up a domestic industry at the exclusion of trade partners. This report shows China’s policies harm exports of US products including pork, beef and corn.

“US producers should have full access to the Chinese market,” he added. “It’s necessary for supporting US jobs, and it’s China’s obligation to allow legitimate access as a member of the World Trade Organization.”

Although China is the largest market in the world for US agricultural goods, US exports to China are concentrated in just several commodities, primarily soybeans and cotton, the study stated. Chinese government support for the agriculture sector boosts the competitiveness of Chinese agricultural products relative to US products, the study added.

The study further found China imposes non-tariff barriers that effectively prohibit imports of certain products, such as US beef, strawberries and fresh potatoes, and significantly restrict imports of other US products, such as pork and apples. Eliminating China’s tariffs and non-tariff barriers could add up to an additional $3.9 billion to $5.2 billion in US agricultural exports to China, the study claimed.

China imports more food than it exports, and this is likely to continue because demand, driven by rapidly rising per capita income, is expected to outpace increases in domestic production, the study added. Imported food is typically viewed by Chinese consumers to be higher quality and safer than domestically-produced food, the study said.
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