Opening Statement: Ranking Member David Rouzer Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Public Hearing: “U.S. Agricultural Trade: Stakeholder Perspectives”
Washington, March 10, 2020
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to our witnesses. We are especially fortunate to have you here representing production agriculture, knowing that spring is a busy time of year on the farm. I look forward to your comments about how trade has impacted your operations, and the opportunities you each see ahead in the future.
American farmers and ranchers produce the highest quality crops, livestock, poultry, and dairy products in the world, and they produce them efficiently. That value proposition is well-known by our customers around the globe, who purchase more than 20 percent of U.S. agricultural production. For some commodities like soybeans and cotton, 50 and 75 percent of U.S. production is exported.
But the importance of trade goes far beyond just the value of what flows through our ports and crosses our borders. The ability of U.S. agriculture to participate in a worldwide marketplace is essential to our markets at home and the ability to make a profit. We have seen just how true this is with recent disruptions in access to certain international markets.
China, Turkey, India, the EU and others have certainly used high tariffs, currency manipulation, and burdensome nontariff trade barriers, harming rural America. The House Agriculture Committee has highlighted these concerns for years, and we are finally seeing some progress. This Administration has secured extensive commitments with three major trade deals representing 50 percent of our agricultural exports.
USMCA secures and modernizes our trade relationship with our closest trading partners, Mexico and Canada. The U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement helps align our market access for U.S. farm products with the access Japan has granted to our competitors. And the China Phase One Agreement secures a commitment from China to nearly double its purchases of U.S. farm products. Additionally, all three of these agreements take huge steps to modernize scientific standards and remove nontariff barriers.
These, as well as the rest of our trade agreements, must be properly enforced to create the conditions necessary to improve in the farm economy. Our trading partners must live up to their agreements. It is necessary for the future of U.S. agriculture. I know that we all, as well as the good folks at USDA and USTR, will be watching closely.
Again, thank you to our witnesses for being here. I look forward to your testimony.
I yield back, Mr. Chairman.