USDA and the White House continue to come under criticism for not more aggressively pursuing new trade deals, while the administration says enforcement comes first. USDA and the White House say there’s a general lack of trust in trade deals, which is why they secured a USMCA judgment against Canada on dairy and are pressing China on its Phase I Ag shortfall of some 16 billion dollars.
But House Ag GOP lawmakers argue that the U.S. is missing out on trade deals others are winning, like CPTPP and new UK-India talks. Nebraska’s Don Bacon; “We didn’t hear much from President Biden until about November, or from the administration, on trade. We’re starting to hear a little bit more, but I sure hope it’s a priority for this administration. Obviously, it’s huge for the Midwest—corn, soybeans, pork, beef—it’s our bread and butter, really, financially.”
Ditto for Iowa’s Randy Feenstra; “The pursuit of new trade negotiations, particularly across Asia, and to remove trade barriers in the U.S.”
And not it’s just Republicans, but Democrats who stress trade’s importance. California’s Jim Costa chairs the Livestock and Foreign Ag Subcommittee. “The trade issues that I discussed before are critical to American agriculture, as well as California agriculture—the number one Ag state in the nation. Forty-four percent of California’s agricultural production is exported.”
Though Costa and other Democrats are more sympathetic to the administration’s enforcement-first approach as the focus is on getting Canada, Mexico, and China to live up to their trade deal commitments.