McCarthy cites Chinese ownership of Smithfield in setting up China task force
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., today cited Chinese ownership of Smithfield, one of the nation’s largest meat producers when he announced the formation of a Republican “China Task Force.”
At a news conference, McCarthy said it was “interesting that China owns a meat processing plant in South Dakota” and asked whether that is a challenge to the U.S. food supply.
McCarthy said the task force will include representatives of 10 congressional committees and will take a look at the U.S.-China relationship. He said Democrats were originally included in the task force but dropped out, and he criticized them for it.
McCarthy also said that the task force will include an inquiry into the origins and spread of COVID-19 and that it will make recommendations for government policy in October.
The task force will also look into Chinese influence in U.S. universities and research, he said. That could have implications for the land-grant agricultural universities.
Its recommendations could also influence the agricultural trade relationship between the United States and China since trade is usually more robust between countries that have good relations.
Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin wrote today that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., had declined to comment on the establishment of the task force, but that a senior Democratic aide said, “We are very cognizant of the need to hold China accountable for its actions. But to the extent this is going to be the Trump administration’s scapegoat for its utter failure, we are not going to go along with that.”
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