Senate Finance Committee: ag needs real trade agenda

The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee told U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai in a hearing Wednesday U.S. agriculture needs a real trade agenda.

Ranking Member Mike Crapo from Idaho referenced a letter sent by commodity groups to USTR this week and said dispute settlement reform is also needed “so we can open markets for them.”

Crapo said Australia and New Zealand have free trade agreements with Thailand, putting U.S. beef at a disadvantage. “Our cattlemen face a 50% tariff while those two partners face none and since then, demand for premium U.S. beef fell 30%.”

And Chairman Ron Wyden from Oregon said India’s wheat subsidies are distorting prices.

Tai said enforcing existing trade deals has been the top priority for the administration and she referenced the dispute settlement process in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“We have pursued two cases now against Canada’s dairy tariff rate quota allocation measures and we’re currently challenging Mexico’s restrictive measures on biotech corn before a panel.”

This is the second day Tai has testified on President Biden’s trade agenda and lawmakers are asking tough questions. She was met with similar questions and concerns in the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday. Watch the hearing.

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