**VIDEO/AUDIO: Spanberger Calls on Secretary Perdue to Provide Transparency to Central Virginia Farmers about the Next Steps in Opening Market Access to China**
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger—a Member of the House Agriculture Committee—today questioned U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue about ongoing trade barriers faced by Central Virginia crop and livestock producers.
During a House Agriculture Committee hearing focused on the state of the U.S. rural economy, Spanberger pressed Secretary Perdue for answers on the USDA’s long-term strategy for providing financial relief and expanded market access to farmers in Central Virginia and across the country.
In her comments, she shared the recent concerns of Central Virginia soybean growers following the signing of the first phase of the U.S.-China trade agreement in January 2020, as they continue to experience the damaging financial effects of the administration’s trade war with China. Click here to watch Spanberger’s comments and questions, and click here to watch the full hearing.
“In Central Virginia, the effects of the administration’s trade war are still rippling through the Seventh District’s rural communities—relationships with buyers in China are unstable, market access hasn’t returned to previous levels, and farm families have been forced to receive MFP payments to lessen the blow to their bottom lines. While the signing of the partial trade agreement with China earlier this year was a positive first step toward recovery, the promised effects on the ground haven’t been anywhere close to apparent,” said Spanberger. “During today’s hearing with Secretary Perdue, I made clear that our district’s producers need an ally in the administration and a well-developed strategy to regain market access, not a wait-and-see attitude. I’ve long said that our producers don’t want a handout from the federal government—they want a fair shot. I’d like to thank Secretary Perdue for coming before our Committee today and for his commitment to rural America, and I’ll keep fighting for trade conditions that allow our district’s producers to grow their operations, strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy, and pass their farms on to the next generation.”
Spanberger specifically shared the concerns of a Central Virginia farmer whose family has experienced financial challenges caused by both the administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods and Chinese retaliatory tariffs—including the loss of buyer relationships that took decades to build. Additionally, she questioned Secretary Perdue about the role the USDA will play in monitoring China’s compliance with the phase one agreement, and she called on the USDA to develop a comprehensive contingency plan should U.S. export market access to China not reopen in the wake of the signing of the agreement.
In January 2020, Spanberger called on the administration to develop a full strategy for ending the trade war with China following the signing of the phase one agreement.
Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has fought for the trade priorities of Central Virginia businesses, workers, and producers. In December 2019, she helped pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Earlier that month, Spanberger joined Vice President Mike Pence in a bipartisan meeting with five of her colleagues at the White House to discuss the status of the USMCA and the need to finalize the agreement.