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USDA, USTR Name Agricultural Trade Advisors

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have announced the appointment of 67 members to serve on seven agricultural trade advisory committees. The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is comprised of senior representatives from across the U.S. agricultural community who provide advice to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on trade policy matters including the operation of existing trade agreements and the negotiation of new agreements. View the appointments.

Biden Starts Picking Leadership

Former Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is the Biden transition team’s nominee to lead the USDA, but Vilsack wasn’t the only Cabinet nominee announced. Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge will lead the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Fudge was considered in the running to lead the USDA at one point. The U.S. Trade Representative will be Katherine Tai. Tai worked at USTR from 2007 to 2014, focusing on China trade issues. Currently, Tai is the chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee.

Steel and Aluminum Tariffs a “Hurdle” in USMCA Chats

Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Gregg Doud confirmed Tuesday that steel and aluminum tariffs are a big hurdle in the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement discussions. “I can tell you there’s not a day that goes by at USTR someone isn’t having a conversation with Canada and Mexico to figure out how to sort this out,” says Doud.

“This is an enormous priority for us. It’s been challenging and it’s taken more time than I think we would have liked in regards to the new administration in Mexico. The election process is evolving in the U.S. and Canada, which makes things challenging as well.”