SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Monday, Congressman Dusty Johnson met with eastern South Dakota business, agriculture and academic leaders to learn more about “the impact the Chinese Communist Party” has on their respective organizations.
Rep. Johnson is a member of “The Select Committee on the CCP,” which was formed at the beginning of this year. Trade, policies, Chinese business competitors, technology and cyber security were just some of things discussed.
Agriculture, technology, academics and more were represented at the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce for the roundtable.
Jerry Schmitz, executive director of both the South Dakota Soybean Association and Soybean Checkoff, says China purchases almost half of South Dakota grown soybeans.
“We know that we need to be careful of national security, and there are things beyond that even. China has been very aggressive in seeking types of information about our seeds and exploiting those, but on the other hand, they are a huge purchaser,” Schmitz said.
Judd Guthmiller, vice president of international business for Daktronics, mentioned the supply chain and importance of being able to get much-needed parts.
“A lot of them come from China, so the relations between the U.S. and China and the policies that are fined. Leaders of the nation are really important and critical to us, and so it’s always nice to stay plugged into what’s going on and at least share our voice so we can shape the future laws to the benefit of us and everyone,” Guthmiller said.
“Decoupling” and what to do moving forward regarding the relationship with China were a big part of the discussion.
“We need to be careful that we don’t give up markets that are very important to us. We need to do some decoupling, but be very careful of that, because we can produce things that other parts of the world can’t, but they have things that we need as well, so we need to do it as a world community,” Schmitz said.
Rep. Johnson says one of the biggest takeaways from the discussion is how large China’s economic integration with America is now. He says now is the time to have conversations in Washington and act.
“We want to make sure that as we move forward, we do so in a thoughtful way. In a way that has long term strategy at its foundation, and as a way that, frankly, works in a bipartisan way and that works collaboratively with our allies,” Johnson said.
Other attendees included leaders from DSU, SDSU, Valley Queen Cheese and the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce.