Hudson provides insight into China, immigration battles
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., who co-chairs the Agriculture and Rural America Task Force, a House group of members who are not on the House Agriculture Committee but are interested in rural issues, provided insight into the battles over China policy and immigration reform when he spoke here at the American Sugar Alliance’s International Sweetener Symposium.
“America needs smart trade and fair trade,” Hudson said, arguing that the United States “lost textile jobs due to bad trade negotiations that opened” with the United States offering market access for foreign textiles.
Hudson said his view on China has been informed by a meeting with a Chinese official who told him, “We had a bad 200 years but we’re back.”
China has a “closed economy, but our economies are absolutely intertwined,” Hudson said.
When he asked President Donald Trump to tell him “the end game” in the China negotiations, Trump said that with the trade deficit at $800 billion “what do we have to lose?,” Hudson said. He added he has not said anything critical about Trump’s policies, even though “I understand there has been pain” for farmers.
“If we show resolve, China is going to blink,” Hudson said, noting that the United States and China “will not go back to dollar for dollar trade,” an apparent reference to the unlikelihood that U.S. exports to China will match imports. But, he added, he believes U.S. negotiators “can get concessions from China.”
“The greatest transfer of wealth in human civilization” has been the Chinese stealing of U.S. intellectual property, he added. U.S. officials should also become more concerned about Chinese hacking into U.S. computer sytems, he said.
On the issue of rewriting U.S. immigration laws, Hudson said he does not believe that Congress will act on the issue unless the courts throw out the rulings allowing the young people who are under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to stay in the country. Hudson maintained after the courts allowed them to stay, the Democrats stopped negotiating on comprehensive immigration policy.
When then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., proposed a farm labor bill last year, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., kept trying to take it out of the bill on the grounds that it was too complicated, Hudson said. Mixed messages from the White House also doomed the bill, Hudson added.
“We got so close,” Hudson said, adding he has spent his “whole life” trying to get an agricultural worker bill passed.
Hudson also told the sugar growers that they need to continue educating recently arrived members about agriculture. “Too many don’t understand the vast importance of the work that you do.”
Several speakers at the conference noted that there are more than 100 new House members who did not vote on the 2018 farm bill and that there are likely to be even more new members after the 2020 election.