Hoeven, Colleagues Urge USTR Agricultural Negotiator Nominee to Support U.S. Producers

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, urged Doug McKalip, the nominee to be the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) chief agricultural negotiator, to seek trade agreements that support U.S. producers. In a letter led by Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.), Hoeven and his colleagues stressed the importance of improving market access for U.S. producers and outlined how the Biden administration’s trade policies have weakened America’s farmers and ranchers.

“America’s farmers and ranchers depend on stable and growing trade relationships around the world for the livelihood of their families and the welfare of all Americans. About one-fifth of all agricultural production in the U.S. is sold overseas, representing vital sales that bolster our nation’s export economy, support thousands of domestic jobs and make a positive contribution to our nation’s trade balance,” the senators wrote.  

“It is therefore disappointing that not only has the Biden administration chosen to forego the pursuit of trade agreements of any kind which can provide enhanced market access for U.S. exporters, but … has failed to fully enforce existing trade agreements. President Biden’s decision to put the U.S. agricultural industry on the backburner of his trade agenda disadvantages American farmers and ranchers while jeopardizing America’s strategic interests in the face of an emboldened and increasingly assertive China.

“In light of these concerns, if confirmed, we request your commitment to working to enforce, enhance and grow market access as part of trade negotiations in order to promote U.S. agricultural exports which will be critical to achieving much-needed economic recovery.”

Hoeven, Scott and Boozman were joined in this effort by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). The full text of the letter can be found here.