U.S. agriculture depends on trade and is always looking to expand opportunities for overseas business. Trade was a big topic during a presentation at NAFB’s Washington Watch. Gregg Doud is vice president of global situational awareness and chief economist for Aimpoint Research. He talked about what lies ahead for U.S. trade/
“That’s a great question. And the answer is there’s not much that’s going to happen without Trade Promotion Authority. And that has expired, and it takes an administration asking Congress to reinstate TPA, and I don’t see that happening, at least in the near term. So, without that, that’s the old fast track authority. So, without that, you don’t have a chance to negotiate a free trade agreement. I think we really need to get back in that game, in particular with the UK.”
He says a trade agreement with Britain would be good for America’s overall economy as well as agriculture. “I think that would be an agreement that everyone would agree on is important for us economically in the United States. If there’s another country that we’ve talked about Kenya, and then it’s on the docket, if we get going again, and there are a lot of things that can be done outside of the TPA, but another country that I’d like to mention that those of us internally in the previous administration are very interested in was Ecuador.”
Ted McKinney, CEO of the national association of state departments of agriculture, says trade talk typically quiets when commodity prices are quite strong. However, he says this is the time America needs to be out doing business the most.
“When prices are as they are now, and they’re not bad, tends to go to a low level of discussion. And yet, I’ll tell you that having traveled my 490,000 air miles, it is exactly now that you need to be out there the most because when you’re not there, things are at play. If we’re not there, somebody else is, and then the next administration, no matter what the politics might be, has to go in and do some of that.”