The first two years of the Biden Administration are almost in the books, but several key trade positions remained unfilled, which has frustrated many in the farming community.  On the USTR side, Doug McKalip has been put forth as the chief agricultural negotiator, and at this point, his confirmation requires a vote in D.C.  And then current Oregon Department of Agriculture director Alexis Taylor has been put forth for the undersecretary of trade, but she has yet to receive a vote.


Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO, said Senate action is urgently needed.


“We have several trade opportunities coming up, in particular the Indo-Pacific economic framework will have their first sit down talks in Australia in December.  And we also have some pending initiatives with Kenya and Taiwan.  So it's more important than ever to have a full bench so to speak with key positions filled so that U.S. agriculture can have the appropriate seat at the table when these talks take place.”


Halstrom said he is hopeful that the Indo-Pacific framework talks will lower trade barriers in Southeast Asia, a region where he sees untapped potential for U.S. red meat.


“You've got the Philippines, Vietnam, these are some key countries in the region really affect what we're doing every day in the world of beef and pork exports.  And I think Indonesia, you know, large population base incredible opportunity for U.S. beef and the market is anything but transparent.  And there's a lot of upside in terms of something as simple as getting new plant approvals for Indonesia," Halstrom noted.  "So, there's a lot of aspects of the Indo-Pacific framework that could pay dividends to our industry back here in the U.S.”


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