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Trump administration brokers important new trade pact

By Staff | Jul 21, 2017

Selling American agricultural products internationally makes an important contribution to our nation’s economy. It’s also hugely significant for the Hawkeye State.

According to information provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, agricultural exports support more than 1 million American jobs. Consequently, whenever changes make foreign sales easier they are welcome. In that regard, a new trade pact with China is an especially positive development. The door to U.S. beef exports to the world’s most populous nation has been re-opened after being closed for 14 years.

According to the USDA, the return of U.S. beef and beef products is a part of the U.S.-China 100-Day Action Plan that was announced by the Trump administration on May 11. Beef exports from the United States began arriving in China in June.

“Beef is a big deal in China and I’m convinced that when the Chinese people get a taste of U.S. beef, they’re going to want more of it,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a statement released by the USDA in June. “These products coming into China are safe, wholesome and very delicious. This is also a good harbinger of the kind of relationship that can be developed.”

This progress is good economic news for the U.S. because our nation has emerged as the world’s fourth-largest beef exporter, according to USDA statistics. In 2016, American beef exports exceeded $5.4 billion.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, issued a statement this month welcoming the latest expansion of the Chinese market for agricultural products.

“At long last, families in China will be able to sink their teeth into high-quality USDA prime beef,” Grassley said. “Restoring direct access to the Chinese market will expand the market for U.S. beef as the growing middle class population in China looks to add wholesome, nutritious protein to their diets. Iowa’s nearly 20,000 beef cattle farms stand to prosper from the growing demand for high-quality beef in China and around the world.”

According to the USDA, China imported beef valued at $2.5 billion in 2016. The new agreement will allow Iowa beef producers to gain access to what is a rapidly growing market.

Farm News applauds this development. The hard work by Trump administration officials to enable U.S. beef sales in China deserves strong praise.

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