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Tester Goes to Bat for Family Farm Agriculture, Stands Up Against Chinese Communist Party Dumping Pea Protein in U.S. Markets

(U.S. Senate) — After a preliminary investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) revealed that the Chinese Communist Party is dumping pea protein in the U.S. market to the detriment of American producers, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today urged them to uphold trade standards that level the playing field for American producers and manufacturers. 

In his letter, Tester emphasized the importance of family farm agriculture to rural America, and China’s efforts to undermine it: “Family agriculture is the backbone of many rural economies, and if unfair trade practices are allowed to go unchallenged, the impacts would be felt across Montana and much of rural America. The Chinese Communist Party wants nothing more than to replace us as the world’s leading superpower, and their trade cheating is part of that effort.”

Tester continued to highlight the importance of pea producers in Montana: “Montana consistently ranks as one of the top producers of peas, but it goes beyond the number of peas Montanans produce. From Plentywood to Cut Bank, famers across the state can tell you the role they play in fixing nitrogen in the soil, disrupting pest and disease cycles, and the role pulses can play in the school lunch program.” 

Tester emphasized the importance to our national security of continuing to combat trace cheating by the Chinese Communist Party: “Unfair trade practices by Chinese manufacturers of pea protein undermine our food security and our economic security.” 

Tester concluded his letter by calling on the ITC to continue upholding trade practices that ensure a fairer market for American producers: “The bottom line is that this is valuable for Montana citizens and the ag producers that live there. Continuing the preliminary duties the commission has put in place would create a more level playing field for American producers and manufacturers.”

As the U.S. Senate’s only working dirt farmer, Tester has long championed a fair and competitive market for Montana’s family farmers and ranchers. He introduced his Meat Packing Special Investigator Act to fight consolidation by appointing a special investigator within USDA to address and prevent anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries. He has also fought for his bipartisan Cattle Price Transparency and Discovery Act, which would establish minimums for negotiated sales and require clear reporting of marketing contracts.

Tester has also led the charge to counter Chinese influence in American agriculture. He has introduced two bipartisan bills — the Protecting America’s Agricultural Land from Foreign Harm Act and the Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act — to prohibit America’s foreign adversaries including China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia from purchasing or leasing U.S. farmland. Tester’s PASS Act would specifically empower the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to prohibit future purchases of farmland and agribusinesses by our foreign adversaries, and enable CFIUS to review all significant agriculture-related foreign investments using expert data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His Protecting America’s Agricultural Land from Foreign Harm Act would strengthen the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) to further empower the U.S. Department of Agriculture to review foreign ownership of American land.

Tester secured his bipartisan PASS Act as an amendment to the FY24 Senate-passed version of the annual national defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Tester’s amendment was ultimately stripped out of the final NDAA by Speaker Johnson and House Republicans. 

You can find Tester’s full letter to the ITC HERE.

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