July 3, 2022
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NCBA Stresses Need for FTAs, U.S. Ag Negotiator

Leaders of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association back from a trade mission to the UK, argue the U.S. not the UK, is standing in the way of a lucrative trade deal.

NCBA President Don Scheifelbein on the industry group’s “Beltway Beef” podcast, says a trade deal with the UK is key to exporting more high-quality US beef overseas and increasing carcass value.

But Scheifelbein says its not the UK that’s standing in the way of a bilateral deal. “UK really, really, really wants a trade agreement with the United States. The one horse holding it back is the United States. And when you look at the delay in which we approach things, we don’t even have an ag trade person right now to go over and head things up, so, we’re kind of in this loop of holding.”

Part of the issue involves the UK and EU working out final post-Brexit trade rules, first. But there’s also a reluctance by the White House to pursue bilateral deals.

U.S. Trade Ambassador Tai told lawmakers last week; “We are facing a considerable backlash that we are listening to, from our own people, about concerns regarding the offshoring and outsourcing of American jobs and opportunities, through these types of arrangements.”

Scheifelbein says NCBA is trying to ready the ground for a possible deal with London.

“We’re continuing those relationships…making sure that once the USDA and our side is ready, that we can just jump right in and start nailing out the details, and get relations and trade agreements finalized.”

Until then, Scheifelbein says NCBA’s team is working to personalize relations with UK industry leaders and clear up any misconceptions about beef production practices in the United States.

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