Chairman Roberts: U.S. Farmers Deserve Level Playing Field in Global Marketplace

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today joined U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers to announce the launch of trade enforcement action against China at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

According to USTR, China’s use of market price support for its domestic rice, wheat, and corn exceeds the country’s commitments under WTO rules. The failure of China to adhere to the rules agreed to under the WTO puts American farmers at a disadvantage in the global marketplace.

Other speakers included: Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas; House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; and Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb.

Below are Chairman Roberts’ remarks as prepared for delivery:

As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, I have long heard from our farmers and ranchers about the need for a level playing field with our global partners in trade.

If we are to remain competitive in the global marketplace, it is critical that our partners adhere to and abide by the same rules that we have all agreed to.

Eliminating barriers to trade, and gaining access to new markets is critical for our producers. But, those efforts will go without reward if the existing trade rules are not enforced.

U.S. producers know the importance of sticking to their commitments, and they have experienced first-hand the harm caused to the agriculture industry by countries that don’t follow the rules.

Our growers have invested their time and resources in the difficult task of understanding and documenting Chinese market price supports for wheat, corn, and rice.

It is our government’s responsibility to listen to the concerns of the U.S. agriculture industry and begin the process of holding China accountable to its commitments in the World Trade Organization. 

This enforcement action likely has a long road ahead. I look forward to working with our producers and alongside USDA and USTR to ensure that our farmers and ranchers get a fair shake in China and elsewhere in the global marketplace.


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Meghan Cline