NFPA and the food processing industry hailed a long-awaited and hard fought victory today as the U.S. Senate passed by a vote of 83 to 15 a bill to permanently liberalize trade with China and end 20 years of annual congressional review of China’s trade status.

“This landmark legislation is in the best interests of the U.S. food processing industry and our nation’s consumers,” said John R. Cady, NFPA’s President and CEO. “NFPA has long urged the Senate to pass this bill, which will help ensure that U.S. food companies have access to and open trade with this important market.”

Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China “has been a high priority of the U.S. food industry,” noted Kristin Pearson, NFPA’s Director of Federal Legislative Affairs. “Granting China PNTR and membership into the World Trade Organization (WTO) will level the playing field for U.S. food processor by restricting onerous international tariffs and dramatically opening China’s markets to American products, agriculture, and services. Also important to the food industry, membership into the WTO for China will help to eliminate non-science-based food safety measures in China that restrict entry of U.S. beef, pork, poultry, and wheat. PNTR will ensure China’s integration into the global trading system will take place under a system of internationally-agreed rules, backed up by WTO dispute settlement procedures, and WTO-authorized sanctions in the event of non-compliance.”

NFPA has been outspoken in its support for the China trade bill, and has been an active participant in industry coalition activities to support China PNTR. “We also would like to thank all our members, especially, the members of NFPA’s Grassroots Leadership Education Action Network (GLEAN) who weighed in on this important issue as China PNTR moved through both the House and the Senate.” For more information, contact Kristin Pearson at (202) 639-5937.