Grassley Applauds Good News for Iowa Pork Producers
Grassley -- who serves as Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on International Trade -- said that the agreement reached today between the U.S. and Taiwan to lift Taiwan's ban on U.S. exports of pork "is terrific news for Iowa pork producers. This is the first time ever that Iowa producers will have access to the Taiwanese market," he said.
An outspoken advocate for American agriculture, recent efforts led by Grassley have sought to ensure that the U.S. Trade Representative seeks fair treatment for U.S. producers. For example, earlier this month, Grassley and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas wrote a letter and introduced a Senate resolution to require that any comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade pact agreed to by the U.S. government address agriculture issues. The initiative was in direct response to recent actions by USTR to reach a new agreement without including agriculture. Grassley said such a strategy would leave the U.S. without any leverage to secure fair treatment for American farmers. "I stand committed to making sure agriculture gets the attention it deserves in Washington," Grassley said.
In addition, Grassley praised the announcement made today by the Secretary of Agriculture that USDA will purchase up to $30 million of pork products to help improve prices to hog producers. In January, Grassley wrote to Secretary Glickman requesting that the U.S. government make such advance government purchases of pork for domestic feeding programs -- including school lunches and emergency food assistance -- because of the sharp decline in hog prices and "its particularly negative impact on family farmers." In the same letter, Grassley urged Glickman to contribute to the long-term viability of the U.S. pork industry by working to open new foreign markets to exports.
Specifically, he urged the administration to negotiate a tough agreement with Taiwan on accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). In fact, the agreement announced today is within a large agreement that the U.S. has been negotiating with Taiwan to enter the WTO. "Today's news is a good for U.S. producers and it's a good sign for future negotiations related to American agriculture," Grassley said.
Overall, the Iowa senator said, "if our rural communities are to continue to reap the benefits of production and processing of value-added products like pork, new markets must be found for these products. I want to help the USTR break down barriers to new markets around the world."