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Farm policy expert says more needs to be done for U.S. ag trade

An ag lobbyist says she’s disappointed by the lack of free trade agreements pursued by the Biden administration.

Mary Kay Thatcher with Syngenta says she would like to see more engagement. “What happens is other countries go out, they find our great customers, they cut deals where maybe they reduce tariffs on products 10% to 15% and all of a sudden their products are more affordable than ours. Other countries are not slowing up in doing these trade agreements, while we’re doing absolutely none.”

She says she doesn’t expect a more aggressive pursuit of trade agreements in the next administration regardless of who is elected. “Right now, it sure looks like we’re going to have a President Trump or a President Biden in another year for four years. Well, neither one of their administrations has wanted to do trade agreements. In essence, we have sat there doing nothing for like 15 years. That’s pretty scary when we export 20% of what we produce.”

The Biden administration has been working on trade negotiations with 14 countries in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, but an ag trade consultant recently told Brownfield its path forward is unclear following a meeting in mid-November.

Thatcher spoke to Brownfield at the 2023 NAFB Convention in Kansas City.

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