Leaders meet to voice their trade concerns as ag recovers from the pandemic
Shipping delays, trade agreements, and biotechnology all came up at a House Ag Committee hearing as the ag industry recovers from pandemic slow downs.
Food and ag industry leaders shared their trade policy priorities with the House Ag Committee. Simon Vader Woude, VP of the National Milk Producers Federation called on lawmakers to address the immediate supply chain issues delaying exports.
According to Woude, “Dairy exporters are now facing soaring freight rates and unpredictable access to shipping containers. Many of which are being rushed back to Asia empty to restock imported items. This volatility is wreaking havoc on our dairy exports and supply chains. To address this crisis, it is critical that Congress passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.”
Jen Sorenson with the National Pork Producers Council also shared support for shipping reform, as well as free trade agreements with Asian nations.
“Recently, we’ve seen some successes in the Asia-Pacific region. Vietnam agreed to I’ve better market access to U.S. pork through the reduction of tariffs. Vietnam agreed to reduce the MFN tariffs for frozen pork from 15 percent to 10 percent. With the reduction to enter into force on July 1, 2022. We are encouraged by the negotiations with Vietnam and hope they lead to broader trade discussions,” Sorenson stated.
Kevin Scott, President of the American Soybean Association encouraged the administration to rejoin the Transpacific Partnership, which was originally negotiated in 2012.
“That’s nearly 10 years of inactivity for codified market expansion that could have helped U.S. agriculture while the U.S. remains idle. Our international competitors forge to hit six new and significant regional trade agreements, now include preferential trade tariff treatment for ag products from our competitors,” Scott states.
He also wants to see the Trade Representative office hold China and Mexico accountable for biotechnology agreements made in existing deals: “The government has not approved a biotech, a new biotech product for imports since 2018, and recently rejected a pending biotech corn application without scientific justification. These actions are contrary to provisions we feel are the gold standard.”
He says that if new seed varieties cannot get approval in both Mexico and China, developers may decide not to commercialize new traits.