Hoeven urges Trump to hasten trade deals with foreign partners

The Trump administration should quickly conclude trade negotiations with China and other foreign partners to provide America’s farmers and ranchers with certainty and improved access to their markets, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) told the president on March 13.

“Finalizing trade agreements will provide our producers with access to foreign markets, help ensure our farmers receive a good price and maintain a strong economy,” said Sen. Hoeven, chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. Sen. Hoeven met with Trump last week at the White House to encourage completion of both a trade deal with China and in wrapping up the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“We had a good meeting with the president today to discuss the importance of advancing the USMCA in Congress,” Sen. Hoeven said, noting that Canada is his home state’s largest trading partner while Mexico is North Dakota’s second-largest trading partner.

“So this agreement is important in providing certainty for our farmers, ranchers and other industries,” he added. 

The senator said he’s specifically been working with the administration to eliminate Canada’s downgrade of imported U.S. wheat to feed grade and to end Section 232 trade tariffs on steel and aluminum. 

And as USMCA negotiations continue, Sen. Hoeven thinks that the administration should push for further commodity purchases like China’s recent commitment to buy an additional 10 million metric tons of soybeans, according to his statement. 

“I continue urging the administration to secure additional commodity purchases while negotiations continue,” said Sen. Hoeven.

During a recent Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee hearing, Sen. Hoeven also pressed U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to secure better trade deals for the nation’s farmers and ranchers and stressed that agriculture producers need trade certainty and more commodity purchases. 

“Our farmers and ranchers have commodities piling up around the nation and we need to get those products moving,” said Rep. Hoeven on March 1. “Finalizing trade agreements is still the ultimate goal, but as the administration continues its negotiations, it should also work to secure additional purchases.”