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No funds to assure China’s compliance

DENVER>>The head of the Denver-based Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) today lambasted the U.S. House Appropriation Committee’s rejection of $21.2 million in funding to assure China’s compliance with trade agreements as “a complete failure to safeguard the promises made during the recent debate over Permanent Normal Trade Relations.”

“Congress is not even done debating the PNTR agreement, and already the promise to verify compliance with the provisions of the trade agreement are being broken,” said Dave Carter, RMFU president. Late last week, the House Appropriations Committee rejected the White House request for $21.2 million to establish China’s compliance with trade agreements. The funds would be utilized to provide for accelerated investigations on the Chinese government’s compliance with the provisions of trade agreements.

Farmers Union has consistently pushed a “trust, but verify” approach to trading relationships with China. The organization’s opposition to PNTR was based upon concern about the ability to adequately monitor compliance in the areas of tariffs and tariff rate quota reductions, elimination of export subsidies, and the use of non-tariff trade barriers.c Carter noted, “Without funding to monitor compliance, we have no way to assure that China will live up to its part of the trade agreements with the United States. Given China’s abysmal record of complying with past agreements, the House Appropriations Committee has placed America’s ranchers and farmers at risk.”c Leland Swenson, president of the National Farmers Union called the Committee’s action “a slap to family farmers and ranchers who, in exchange for their increased exposure to the effects of world market imports, were promised increased export opportunities and the chance to boost crisis-level farm incomes.”