Chief Ag Negotiator Points to Ag Trade Successes

Exports are always an important topic for U.S. agriculture. Doug McKalip is the chief agricultural trade negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. He says the last few years have been very good for exports, but challenges are there heading into 2024.

“Over the past few years, we have seen amazing export numbers for U.S. agriculture. While challenges and headwinds facing exports do exist, USTR is being proactive about building upon existing and creating new trading relationships across the globe. We also recognize that wins for American farmers are also wins for our rural communities as a whole, creating a more fair and equitable economy for all from the bottom up and middle out. That means ensuring that the benefits of trade make it to the farm gate and that U.S. farmers, ranchers, producers, and exporters compete on a level playing field.”

He says the USTR is making sure that trading partners live up to their agreements while nurturing those relationships.

“We take every opportunity to press our trading partners to develop and maintain science-based policies to facilitate the trade of food and agricultural goods and allow you all to meet the increasing global demand for high-quality U.S. products. We’re also leading initiatives to strengthen our relationships with key partners in the Indo-Pacific, as well as Taiwan and Kenya, to advance these objectives. Already in 2023, there have been a dozen successes in reducing tariffs, as well as a significant number of successes in removing non-tariff barriers for U.S. agriculture in markets around the globe.”

McKalip talks about some trade successes.

“Earlier this year, following extensive engagement, Japan implemented a new biofuels policy that will allow the United States to capture up to 100 percent of Japan’s on-road ethanol market. Under the new policy, exports of U.S. ethanol could increase by over 80 million gallons annually, or nearly $200 million in exports each year. In January, an updated agreement between the United States and Japan also entered force, revising Japan’s beef safeguard mechanism. The updated agreement will allow U.S. exporters to more reliably meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality U.S. beef, providing more predictability by reducing the likelihood of safeguard duties being imposed on our beef.”

The USTR’s Office also succeeded in loosening retaliatory tariffs.

“India agreed to remove retaliatory tariffs on certain U.S. agricultural products, including chickpeas, lentils, almonds, walnuts, and apples, among other products. The removal of the retaliatory tariffs will restore market opportunities for these U.S. products, many of whom are small and family-owned farming operations.”