Lawmakers ask Indo-Pacific talks to prioritize ag

A bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives is asking the Biden administration to prioritize agricultural trade as part of its discussions with countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

The lawmakers say the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework should address tariff and non-tariff barriers for ag exports and include Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards.

During this week’s House Ways and Means Hearing, U.S. Trade Rep Katherine Tai said tariffs are not expected to be part of the talks, but the U.S. is focused on building market access while protecting the offshoring of jobs and industries.

“Our intention is to bring to our partners in the region really a 21st-century trade conversation,” she says.

Representatives Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Jim Braid of Indiana, Daniel Kildee, Fred Upton, Peter Meijer, and John Moolenaar of Michigan, Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, Cheri Bustos and Rodney Davis of Illinois, Angie Craig of Minnesota, Troy Balderson of Ohio, and Randy Feenstra of Iowa are among the nearly 90 lawmakers on the letter to the USTR and Secretary of Agriculture.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says the framework should include a strategy of creating binding commitments and improving market access for ag through reduced tariffs.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council say the dairy industry needs a framework that lives up to the lawmakers’ recommendations to compete fairly and efficiently across Asia and the Pacific.

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