Heitkamp: ND Loses when China Cheats, but Caution Needed to Protect Rural Economy
March 23, 2018
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp released the following statement on the administration's proposed tariffs on products imported from China.
"China has not lived up to its commitments on trade with the United States, and our economy and American jobs have paid a price," said Heitkamp. "We must find the right balance to hold China accountable while also protecting North Dakotans, especially our farmers and ranchers, from retaliation that would damage our economy. Our agriculture producers are rightfully concerned about an unnecessary trade war stoked by unwise steel and aluminum tariffs and the uncertainty surrounding NAFTA renegotiations. To strengthen rural America, we should focus on protecting markets for the goods we produce and expanding opportunities for industries in our state."
Heitkamp has long fought to guarantee North Dakota farmers have fair access to China, including through a World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance case in December 2016. In September 2016, she helped announce an earlier compliance case to hold China accountable for over-subsidizing its domestic crops.
Last year, China agreed to open its market to U.S. beef after Heitkamp urged the president to press the issue at a summit with Chinese President Xi Jingping.
After the administration announced new tariffs on aluminum and steel this month, Heitkamp warned of the potential for retaliation by our trading partners, which would hurt the ability of North Dakota farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers to export their products. Heitkamp has cosponsored bipartisan legislation introduced by Republican Arizona Senator Jeff Flake to nullify the aluminum and steel tariffs announced by the administration on March 8.
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Heitkamp has been fighting to protect and expand markets for North Dakota goods, pushing the administration to back off damaging threats to withdrawal from NAFTA and speaking out against tariffs that would put the state's economy at risk.
Exports are a critical part of North Dakota's economy. For example:
· 60 percent of North Dakota's exports to China are agricultural products, according the U.S. Department of Commerce.
· 71 percent of North Dakota soybeans go to Asia, primarily China, and the export value of the 2016-2017 crop was $1.5 billion, according to the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association.
· North Dakota is the ninth largest agriculture exporting state in the country, with $5.3 billion in goods exported worldwide in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
· North Dakota is in the top 10 most exposed states to new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, according to the Brookings Institution.
· North Dakota is home to over 17,000 workers employed in industries that are particularly dependent on production and consumption of steel and aluminum, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
–Senator Heidi Heitkamp