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As currently structured: NO on PNTR with China

The vote for Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China is due the week of May 22. As it is currently structured, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union does not support it. Call your congressperson ASAP and urge a NO vote.

Following is a copy of a press release from National Farmers Union that outlines the Farmers Union position. As the PNTR agreement stands now, the concerns are not addressed:
commodities and goods elimination of unfair non-tariff trade barriers that are not (April 3, 2000)WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Farmers Union (NFU) today delivered a letter to members of Congress identifying critical issues that must be addressed in the deliberations of the Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) agreement with China in order to promote security and prosperity for America’s family farmers and ranchers.

“The National Farmers Union knows the importance of trade to our nation’s economy,” said its president Leland Swenson. “This is especially true in agriculture. We are a strong proponent of fair trade that puts the interests of American farmers and ranchers first.”

NFU believes that a PNTR agreement with China must operate under a “trust but verify” policy that requires timely, annual verification to Congress that China has carried out the agreement’s goals of: annual, progressive reduction of tariffs and tariff rate quotas as outlined in the PNTR agreement; elimination of export subsidies on all based on sound scientific principles increased opportunity for non state-trading enterprises to import and distribute products.

It is NFU’s position that the United States must have authority, outside of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution process, to immediately respond if the annual verification report demonstrates that China has not fully complied with the terms of the agreement.

In addition, the verification process must identify:

1) whether accurate data relevant to the terms of compliance has been provided by China, including its third country activities;
2) actions taken by China to protect and enhance individual rights; and
3) actions taken by the U.S., authorized outside of the WTO process, to respond to Chinese exports that cause market disruption of any commodity, service or good, including textiles.

NFU also calls upon Congress to establish, within the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, a program to directly compensate farmers and ranchers for economic losses because of import surges or loss of market opportunities because of unfair trade barriers, including currency variances and fluctuations.

“As deliberations on this important issue commence, we believe it is important that Congress take an objective view of both the benefits and risks associated with PNTR for China, including the need to assure that the sales volume and value of U.S. agriculture commodities and products are increased,” said Swenson.

The congresspersons most important to contact ASAP in the Rocky Mountain region via telephone or e-mail are:
•Dianna DeGette (202) 225-4431, ddegette@mail.house.gov
•Bob Schaffer (202) 225-4676, see www.house.gov
•Barbara Cubin (202) 225-2311, barbara.cubin@mail.house.gov
•Mark Udall (202) 225-2161, see www.house.gov