Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Montana Stockgrowers Call For Trade Deal With China

A cow looks up on a farm near Bridger, Montana.
Kayla Desroches
Yellowstone Public Radio
A cow looks up on a farm near Bridger, Montana in this stock image.


Many are calling for the fast resolution to the Trump Administration's trade war with China. Among them are Montana cattle producers who see opportunity in Chinese markets.

China represents a relatively small share of U.S. beef markets. The country takes in about $37 million in U.S. beef each year. But Jay Bodner with the Montana Stockgrowers Association says there is a high potential in the market.

“It’s been estimated at roughly almost $400 million, you know just barely getting into the door," Bodner says.

MSGA sent a letter to Chinese officials through Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines last week. They reached out as a potential trading partner and expressed the importance of a fast resolution to trade disputes while touting the value of Montana beef.

Current Chinese tariffs on U.S. beef sit at about 37 percent. But the Montana Stockgrowers Association sees opportunity in Chinese markets when trade negotiations are finalized.

"We know that China is an ever increasing market opportunity for U.S. beef and Montana beef and we just barely got that market open in 2017," Bodner says. "But we know that there is tremendous potential there."

Bodner said MSGA understands it takes time to develop new markets.

Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester also called for urgency from the Trump administration in making a deal with China on a rural press call with reporters Tuesday.

“We’ve got folks that are going broke," Tester said. "It’s already happening in my community. And it’s gonna get a whole lot worse and if the president doesn’t negotiate, it’s hard to see how this is going to come to any sort of resolution.”

Tester said he will be putting forth a bill that would give Congress the ability to pull back some of the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.