Vilsack satisfied, Grassley not, on USTR China trade strategy

Ag Secretary Vilsack supports Trade Ambassador Tai’s new approach to China over the phase one trade deal.

He says China has met 50 of the 57 key agreements in the deal with those seven important areas unfulfilled, “Not the least of which is biotechnology trait approvals, just as an example. So, obviously, Ambassador Tai should press the Chinese on fulfilling their responsibilities in that key area.”

Vilsack says on the purchase side, while it’s true that the Chinese obviously have made significant purchases recently, now just getting back and perhaps just a bit above where they were prior to the trade war, the reality is they’re still about $5-Billion dollars short of the amount of purchasing under phase one that they agreed to make and that, I think, is important that we continue to press the Chinese for compliance with phase 1. If you reach an agreement we want to make sure there is performance behind that agreement.”

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley told reporters today he’s disappointed the Biden administration strategy does not include pursuing a phase 2 agreement to address trade barriers, “It seems like the Biden administration, then without pursuing phase 2, is throwing in the towel. I hope I am proven wrong.”

Grassley further told Brownfield Ag News, “I’m not satisfied that China is currently at 89 percent of their targeted commitment. Still, the year is not over and it seems like they are making an effort to reach their commitments on agriculture. It’s still unclear what the Biden administration’s policy will be. It could be that they will be pushing on China to fulfill their phase one obligations, but the analysis from yesterday’s speech (Ambassador Tai) suggests that the Administration will not be pursuing a Phase Two agreement.”

Additionally, from Grassley’s office: The intention was always for the U.S. to move to a Phase II agreement to address fundamental reforms to our trading relationship including dealing with excess subsidies for Chinese state-sponsored entities, stopping IP theft and forced technology transfer, and access for U.S. services.

Grassley told reporters President Biden appears to be playing the long game with China and does not appear as involved in getting China to the table as former President Trump was.

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