White House, USTR Tai Under Pressure to Fill Ag Negotiator Post

The White House and U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai are under new pressure to fill the Chief Ag Negotiator post in Tai’s office. The unexpected withdrawal of Elaine Trevino as President Biden’s nominee for Chief Ag Negotiator in U.S. Trade Representative Tai’s office has brought new pressure to fill the post quickly…

Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow; “It is critical we get a Chief Agricultural Negotiator at USTR. It’s just absolutely important. As you know, markets are critical for agriculture, and so, we really need to get this across the finish line as soon as possible.”

Impatience is growing as USTR remains without a top ag negotiator more than 14 months into the administration. South Dakota Republican John Thune; “It’s an expression, I think, of priorities, and I can tell you that there are a lot of farmers and ranchers and agricultural producers, growers around this country, who are very, very concerned that the promotion of agricultural exports be a priority. And it doesn’t seem like it is.”

An irritated Katherine Tai dismissed Thune’s implied claim the administration hadn’t nominated an ag negotiator. “Senator Thune, we have nominated one, and I’m very grateful for Elaine Trevino’s willingness to serve, and I look forward to working with her in another capacity she will take on in the Biden Administration. At the moment, I’m working very hard with our administration to name a new Chief Ag Negotiator nominee.”

Tai insisted she fully backs the importance of Ag trade, though both parties’ lawmakers sharply criticized the administration for resisting calls to do new trade deals – deals Tai billed as outdated and opposed by those who fear offshoring of US jobs.

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