NASDA on Trade Opportunities: “There isn’t one size fits all”

Farm groups are hoping to see ag exports continue to rise as the Biden administration pursues more trade agreements. The leader of NASDA shares her thoughts on trade moving forward.

Marketing and international trade are top priorities for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

CEO, Dr. Barb Glenn says that a science-based approach is the right way to approach new trade deals, especially with partners like the EU who often have restrictive production measures.

“There isn’t one size that fits all, there are other pathways to meet consumer demands for both Europeans and our U.S. consumers, and I have to hope for the best but I would say that it’s a challenge, and I think we have a lot of work yet to do with European Union,” Dr. Glenn explains.

A trade agreement with the United Kingdom is likely to come before a deal with the full European Union, plus other potential bilaterals with emerging markets like Kenya.

“We think this can open the avenues for, you know, a lot of agreements in African countries, so we need to continue to pursue these aggressively,” according to Dr. Glenn. “And furthermore, in the Asia Pacific Rim, there are many markets that need to continue to be open. So, I think overall we would want the administration to complete their review of their trade policy, and then move assertively.”

She says that NASDA is supportive of the China agreement and the progress being made on increasing exports, but so far the administration has not taken action to move forward with Phase 2.

“We need to continue, though, to understand what is the administration’s trade policy with China... we’re thankful to Secretary Vilsack and Ambassador Tai that they have spoken out about the importance of opening new markets and new customer bases for food and agricultural products, but really at this time they have a pause on pursuing new agreements,” she states.

Dr. Glenn says that their members are also pleased with the U.S. Mexico Canada agreement so far, but have concerns about dairy provisions with Canada and biotechnology issues with Mexico.

“So we’re very keen on working with our federal partners to assure that there is enforcement, and indeed, NASDA has spent quite a bit of time with respect to implementation and enforcement of USCMA because we’re working with our state and provincial counterparts,” she adds.

This fall, NASDA will host the Tri-National Agricultural Accords, an opportunity for Canadian and Mexican officials to meet with American producers to continue building to the USMCA partnership.


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