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Congress Seeks More Action on Trade From the Biden Administration

The Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee held annual hearings this week regarding the president’s trade agenda.

Dave Salmonsen, American Farm Bureau Federation Senior Government Affairs Director, says its an opportunity for the administration and Congress to collaborate. He says, “This is a required report in which the administration lays out what their accomplishments have been and what they plan on doing in the upcoming year. And this year you had the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai came before the committee’s and laid out their ideas on trade for the year. So, it provides an opportunity for some real interaction between the administration and the Congress on trade and the trade agenda going forward.”

Salmonsen says there was bipartisan concern that the administration isn’t doing enough to improve trade. Salmonsen says, “A lot of the discussion was about the fact that this administration does not pursue the traditional trade agreements. There was a lot of discussion about the fact that ag exports aren’t keeping up with the volume and dollar value of ag imports. And also, the lack of enforcement, especially in bringing trade cases with China. So, there was an awful lot of, let us say, suggestions for improvement.”

Salmonson says AFBF seeks more effort from the administration on trade.

He says, “We’re not having the growth that we were used to having, going backwards some. We’re not expanding our markets in a way that we want to. We need to diversify. More than half of our ag exports only go to five regions. We would like to sell more to a greater variety of countries, but unless we have an administration that’s really willing to get in there and negotiate trade agreements, and lower barriers that other countries have, we just really can’t use that approach to grow our exports.”

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