WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, this week met with Christian Schmidt, the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture for Germany, as part of the senator’s ongoing efforts to expand U.S. agricultural markets and support the nation’s farmers and ranchers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S exports of agricultural products to Germany totaled $2.6 billion in 2015, with soybeans comprising one of the largest segments. Germany is North Dakota’s 5th largest export market, with the state exporting a wide variety of products to Germany including tractors, combines, sunflower seeds and lentils.
“Our farmers and ranchers do a tremendous job providing food, fuel and fiber to meet the needs of our nation, as well as countries around the world,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we continue working to expand markets for U.S. agricultural products. Germany is one of the largest food importing nations in the world, and we had a good discussion with German Agriculture Minister Schmidt about the importance of ag trade to our nations. We need to continue to grow markets for our ag products, and our recent appointment of the U.S. Trade Representative as well as the USDA’s creation of an Undersecretary for Trade are good steps in helping to build America’s ag exports.”
Hoeven is working to expand access to foreign markets and ensure fair treatment for North Dakota’s agriculture industry. Among other things, his efforts include:
- Serving as a member of the Senate-House Conference Committee that crafted the final farm bill of 2014, which directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create an undersecretary of trade and foreign agricultural affairs. USDA recently announced plans to create the position to help grow foreign markets for U.S. agriculture.
- Pressingthe Administration to reach an agreement with China to open the country to U.S. beef imports. Earlier this month, the Commerce Department announced it had reached an agreement to export U.S. beef to China.
- Backingthe U.S. Trade Representative in bringing a compliance case against China in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Under its WTO obligations, China would have imported as much as $3.5 billion worth of additional U.S. wheat, corn and rice in 2015 alone.
- Ensuringdomestic honey producers receive all of the proceeds collected from settlements for unfair trade practices.