PEORIA, IL — Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA), Co-chairs of the U.S.-China Working Group, are leading a Congressional delegation trip to China to meet with Chinese and U.S. officials to discuss the importance of a fair-trade partnership between the two nations. Members of the delegation will make stops in Hangzhou and Beijing to meet with high ranking Chinese officials, as well as representatives from U.S. businesses, including manufacturing, tech, and agriculture, operating in China. In advance of the trip the delegation met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to discuss and receive an update on the ongoing high-level negotiations between the two countries. Ambassador Lighthizer is President Trump’s lead negotiator in the talks with China. 

“As the Administration continues to engage with the Chinese in ongoing trade negotiations, this trip comes at a critical time in our countries relationship. We have real and long-standing systemic issues with China and I applaud the Administration for going after their unfair trading practices,” stated LaHood. “Any agreement must be enforceable, but, it must also recognize the negative impact tariffs have had on our agriculture and manufacturing communities in central and west-central Illinois. Our farmers and manufacturers have taken the brunt of retaliatory tariffs, and this trip will give them a seat at the table by allowing me to advocate on their behalf. As two leading global economies, we have a responsibility to engage in regular and substantive dialogue to enhance areas of cooperation, and I look forward being a voice for our agriculture community in the Midwest during this trip.”

Kevin Brady (R-TX), Ranking Member on the House Ways and Means Committee added, “Rep. LaHood continues to lead on trade, both in our Committee and in Congress, and I know that he will be a strong advocate for American farmers and manufacturers on this trip. While we want China to buy more U.S. goods that support farmers, manufacturers and workers here at home, it’s even more important for us to hold China accountable to meeting high international standards on intellectual property rights, forced technology transfer, subsidization, overcapacity, and the other structural ways in which China distorts the global economy. I am hopeful that the substantive talks under way under President Trump’s leadership will produce meaningful and enforceable commitments from China that lower its trade barriers and achieve structural reforms.”

In Beijing, Rep. LaHood and the delegation will be accompanied by US Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad at all their high-level meetings. Ambassador Branstad is the former Republican Governor of Iowa and is a strong advocate for agriculture.  

Rep. LaHood currently serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which has sole jurisdiction over all trade issues and moreover, any legislative matter involving trade with China will be addressed by this Committee. In addition, Ambassador Lighthizer has regularly met with the Committee in the last year to specifically address trade with China.

Structural Reform Is Needed
Over the last 25 years, China has been an unfair trading partner with the United States, engaging in practices, such as the theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfers. As negotiations between our two countries continue, the USCWG will emphasize the need for structural reform in China’s trading practices. This includes the need for increased market access for U.S. companies, the need to ensure that U.S. intellectual property in fully protected, modernizing regulatory practices, and the elimination of forced technology transfers. In addition, the USCWG will be pressing the Chinese to act to further regulate and control the export of fentanyl. As China continues to expand its influence in the global community, it is imperative that they abide by international norms.

The U.S.-China Working Group
The bipartisan U.S.-China Working Group (USCWG), chaired by Darin LaHood (IL-18) and by Congressmen Rick Larsen (WA-2), was founded in 2005. The U.S.-China Working Group seeks to build diplomatic relations with China and educate Members of Congress through meetings and briefings with business, academic and political leaders from the U.S. and China.