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Senate Ag Holds First Farm Bill Hearing of New Congress

The Senate Ag Committee holds its first farm bill hearing of the new Congress, focusing on trade and global food aid, as it aims to produce a 2023 bill.

The Ag panel will hear from USDA Trade Undersecretary Alexis Taylor, Undersecretary for Marketing Jenny Lester Moffitt and Sarah Charles USAID Assistant to the Administrator.

Taylor stressed top trade issues during her Senate confirmation hearing, but only within existing, not new trade deals.

“From the question of new trade deals, what I’m very interested in, and a couple of fundamentals, what is meaningful market access for a cross section and diversity of U.S. agricultural products? How do we address non-tariff barriers and ensure that science-based regulatory processes and decision-making is being implemented.”

An effort Taylor’s now making with Mexican officials over their president’s 2024 plan to ban GMO corn imports from the United States.

And as with USMCA, the focus in the Biden IPEF agreement will be enforcing science-based trade versus tariff liberalization under new FTAs.

“The Indo Pacific Economic Framework, I think that’s a very exciting region of the world, certainly for U.S. Agriculture—there’s a lot of opportunity. I am interested in understanding the agriculture community’s priorities, and engaging within the administration on, what does meaningful market access look like for our producers.”

But short of politically sensitive trade deals the White House seeks to avoid, that may not be enough for Ag committee members of both parties, especially as competitors continue to make their own trade deals leaving the U.S. on the sidelines.

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