The Senate Finance Committee is expected to advance President Biden’s nominee for U.S. Chief Ag Negotiator Doug McKalip in early September. Agriculture needs a trade advocate at the White House, and Senate Finance Republican Chuck Grassley’s confident it will soon have one in Doug McKalip.
Grassley; “The hearing is going to be on September the 7th. I expect this nominee will be voted out of the committee favorably. I think he’s well qualified, and, most importantly, to speed it along, we badly need new leadership in this position.”
Largely, Republicans and some farm-state Democrats argue, due to the president’s reluctance to do politically difficult free trade agreements. And Grassley says other Ag trade posts need to be filled. Grassley; “We still do not have a confirmation hearing for another very important trade position. Alex Taylor, an Iowan, has been nominated to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade mission under the title of ‘Undersecretary for Trade.’”
Grassley says his farmers, who export much of their harvest, want market-opening trade deals. Grassley; “And I’ve had multiple conversations during my town halls with farmers who are concerned with the lack of aggressiveness in pursuing free trade agreements by this administration. 19 months into this administration is far too long for these key roles to not be filled.”
Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai told lawmakers earlier that the “old playbook” on trade hasn’t worked and that the Biden team will stress deal enforcement, labor, and environmental issues, not FTAs.