Lighthizer confirmed as USTR

By a vote of 82 to 14, the Senate has confirmed Robert Lighthizer to serve as U.S. Trade Representative.

Ag groups welcomed the Senate’s action. The American Soybean Association called it “an encouraging step in developing trade policies that continue to promote U.S. food and agriculture production”.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also issued a statement, saying it will encourage Lighthizer to prioritize trade with Asian markets by focusing efforts on restoring U.S. beef access to China and by establishing a bilateral trade agreement with Japan.

“As the 13-year ban of U.S. beef into China has been lifted, we encourage U.S. and Chinese government officials to establish a protocol for U.S. beef so that we can start exporting to the world’s most populous nation immediately,” said NCBA president Craig Uden. “Furthermore, Japan is the top export market for U.S. beef, despite a 38.5 percent tariff. With TPP no longer an option to us, we urge Ambassador Lighthizer to prioritize a bi-lateral free trade agreement with Japan so that we can compete fairly with Australian beef producers.”

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