ND senators praise trade deal allowing U.S. beef to be sold in China
WASHINGTON — A new trade deal will allow U.S. beef and natural gas to be exported into China, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced Thursday, a move that was applauded by members of North Dakota's congressional delegation.
Under the agreement, China will allow U.S. beef exports to go directly to the country for the first time since 2003. The U.S. will also authorize Chinese imports of cooked chicken into the country by mid-July. The countries also agreed to open up U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas to China.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a statement that the agreement is good for the state.
"The Commerce Department's announcement that they have reached an agreement with China to open its markets to U.S. beef and natural gas is good news for North Dakota's top industries — agriculture and energy," Hoeven said. "Trade is vital to the success of our farmers and ranchers. China is the second largest importer of beef in the world, which is why it is so important that this market opens up to U.S. cattle producers. Additionally, opening up Chinese markets to U.S. natural gas will help to reduce flaring and create good jobs."
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., agreed that the deal could benefit North Dakota ranchers.
"After pushing the president to stand up for our ranchers, I'm encouraged that China has agreed to open up its market to our high-quality beef," Heitkamp said Friday in a news release.
She added that while the deal may seem promising, China has made similar commitments before and has not followed through.
"North Dakota ranchers can benefit from access to this huge market, which is why I called on the president to bring this issue up during his summit with the Chinese president last month," she said. "To make sure our ranchers and farmers have access to this market, it's vital that we hold China to its trade commitments — whether it's allowing imports of our beef or making sure China isn't unfairly subsidizing its domestic products."
The North Dakota Stockmen's Association also approved of the deal.
"The agreement struck (Thursday) is a monumental step forward that will open the door for the sale of commonly recognized beef cuts, like chucks and rounds, as well as other specialty cuts, to nearly 1.4 billion new customers," said Warren Zenker, NDSA president, in a news release. "Beef producers in North Dakota and the nation are thankful to the Trump administration for making restoration of U.S. beef market access in China a priority."