Key U.S. senators on trade issues are urging China to lift barriers on beef and other agricultural imports, following a government study that found tariffs and other restrictions were impeding up to $5.2 billion a year in sales.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), along with Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), say the report shows that the second-largest importer of U.S. agricultural goods must take further steps to remove unfair trade barriers.
"China's unjustified trade barriers are blocking some of our goods such as wheat and beef and hurting job growth in the U.S," says Baucus, who requested the report from the U.S. International Trade Commission along with Grassley. "U.S. producers should have full access to the Chinese market," adds Grassley, calling on China to live up to its obligations in joining the World Trade Organization a decade ago.
The independent government agency found that non-tariff measures, such as China's effective ban on U.S. beef, had resulted in lost U.S. exports of between $2.6 billion and $3.1 billion. In addition, removing tariffs and tariff-rate quotas – such as the 65% rate imposed on wheat or corn imports above the quota – could boost annual exports by another $1.3 billion to $2.1 billion. Poultry imports tumbled 80% last year after China imposed retaliatory duties on the U.S., resulting in a sales hit of about $360 million.