NPC joined more than one hundred U.S. ag groups on Tuesday urging Senate leadership to schedule a floor vote on Doug McKalip’s nomination as Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Noting that two weeks have passed since the U.S. Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved his nomination and sent it to the Senate floor, the letter urged an immediate vote.
“We write with strong concern over further delay because we are reminded daily of the need for greater attention and emphasis from the Administration on agricultural export market growth,” the group wrote in the letter. “USDA now forecasts lower agricultural exports for the next fiscal year and again has increased its import projection by another $5 billion, taking a small trade surplus this year and moving into net deficit territory next year.”
“Agricultural trade deficits, once unimaginable, are now reality, underscoring the need to have in place a Senate-confirmed negotiator dedicated to pushing for new agricultural markets and removing barriers to growth in existing ones,” the groups wrote.
McKalip’s nomination is supported by the National Potato Council. “With one out of every five rows of U.S. potatoes destined for foreign markets, the U.S. potato industry needs a veteran policy leader like Doug McKalip at the helm promoting American agricultural interests abroad,” said National Potato Council Vice President of Trade Affairs and grower from Washington state Ted Tschirky. “We urge the Senate to act on his nomination so McKalip can get to work supporting U.S. agricultural exports.”
The full letter is available here.