Grassley Hits Biden on Lack of Trade Agenda, Ag Trade Nominees

A senior Senate Finance Committee Republican says the president should have had a trade agenda and filled Ag trade posts by now. The former chair of the Senate panel that deals with trade and Finance, Chuck Grassley, sees little action by the Biden team on trade.

“We’re eight months into the administration, haven’t seen any movement on free trade agreements, and the president hasn’t submitted names for the Chief Agriculture Negotiator for the Trade Representative’s office. And there’s also a big vacancy in another important position in USDA, that of Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.”

That position of Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs was created in the Trump administration and filled by Indiana’s Ted McKinney, who promptly traveled the world, many thousands of miles, tirelessly forging relations with current and potential markets.

Absent all that groundwork being laid, Grassley is writing to Biden.

“I’m writing the president, urging him to nominate qualified individuals in these posts so we can get some action. Businesses and farmers rely on export markets, and that leadership, this vacancy, is hurting that effort. Every day that goes by without this qualified leadership in these two posts means that the U.S. is disadvantaging ourselves against our agricultural competitors.”

Grassley says he doesn’t know where things stand on any China Phase 2 talks that were dependent on China’s meeting two-year Phase 1 ag purchase commitments. China fell short last year due to the pandemic.

Source: NAFB News Service

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