NMPF Leads China Letter Urging Trade Tension De-escalation

NMPF signed and helped lead outreach for signatories on a Dec. 12 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party that argued against escalating trade tensions with China.

In its report released shortly thereafter on fortifying the American economy to compete with China, the Committee refrained from calling for a complete repeal of China’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status – a decision that would have serious repercussions for U.S. dairy farmers.

Since Congress first granted China PNTR status in 2000, Chinese demand for U.S. agricultural exports has rapidly grown. China now purchases 19% of America’s food and agriculture exports and is the third largest export destination for U.S. dairy products. The letter warns of the potential fallout from PNTR revocation, citing as an example Chinese retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products after the U.S. imposition of Section 232 and 301 tariffs on Chinese goods. Those retaliatory tariffs led to a significant reduction in U.S. dairy exports to China.

While the final select committee report stops short of calling for outright revocation of China’s PNTR status, the recommendations urge Congress to move China to a “new tariff column” to decrease reliance on Chinese imports and develop U.S. leverage to address trade issues.

NMPF strongly opposes increased tariffs on Chinese imports that could invite additional retaliatory measures against U.S. dairy and agricultural exports – a message that NMPF continues to highlight on Capitol Hill as the select committee’s recommendations are considered for further action.

Joint NMPF and USDEC Statement on Administration’s China Strategy

From NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern:

“Dairy farmers welcome the launch today of the administration’s new approach to the U.S.-China trade relationship given China’s tremendous importance to global dairy markets. To date, China has delivered on the multiple dairy regulatory commitments they made in the Phase 1 agreement. But retaliatory tariffs continue to put a drag on our sales, and our market share in key dairy commodities such as milk powder and cheese lags far behind that of our competitors. We urge the administration to press China for substantial progress on these two fronts so that dairy farmers and cooperatives are better positioned to supply China’s growing dairy needs.”

From USDEC President and CEO Krysta Harden:

“What China does impacts dairy markets all around the world given what a large purchaser of dairy products they are. American dairy farmers and manufacturers count on the ability for our products to meet China’s appetite for dairy, yet retaliatory tariffs continue to weigh down our prospects there. Long-term tariff waivers are critical to help unlock more of the potential in that market. In addition, it’s key that the administration encourages China to boost its purchasing of major dairy commodities such as milk powder and cheese that it is still primarily sourcing from other suppliers.”