NMPF Strengthening Ties with USTR

A series of March meetings between NMPF staff and new U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Doug McKalip is strengthening ties with the critical agency for U.S dairy exports, with NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern and others sharing industry priorities.

Officially confirmed by the Senate late last year, Amb. McKalip is U.S. agriculture’s top advocate at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and a critical ally to America’s dairy industry.  Mulhern sat down with Amb. McKalip over dinner to talk over dairy trade challenges and opportunities on March 1.

Two days later, Trade Policy Manager Tony Rice joined the U.S. Agricultural Coalition for World Trade Organization (WTO) Reform in a meeting with Ambassador McKalip to discuss dairy priorities in the context of the WTO’s Ministerial Conference taking place early next year. Finally, those conversations were followed by an in-depth, policy-focused dialogue with NMPF trade policy leaders Jaime Castaneda and Shawna Morris on March 9.

NMPF also worked with congressional allies to support their preparations for questioning U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai during trade oversight hearings held by the Senate Finance Committee on March 23 and the House Ways and Means Committee on March 24, pressing Amb. Tai to pursue market-liberalizing opportunities for U.S. agriculture and removal of nontariff barriers to dairy exports, including the EU’s aggressive campaign to monopolize common cheese names.

NMPF Presses for a U.S. Chief Ag Negotiator

NMPF joined with USDEC and the Corn Refiners Association to spearhead a Sept. 20 letter from 105 agricultural organizations and companies urging immediate Senate action to install Doug McKalip as the Chief U.S. Agricultural Negotiator.

As the Administration forges ahead with new, albeit limited, trade discussions on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and with Taiwan, the United States has been left without a confirmed Agricultural Ambassador at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The letter to Senate Leaders Schumer (D-NY) and McConnell (R-KY) highlights McKalip’s long track record as an advocate for free trade, noting that he “would bring to the position decades of experience representing the interest of U.S. agriculture, having served in numerous leadership positions at USDA and the White House.”

Following a bipartisan 27-0 vote to move McKalip’s nomination forward during a Senate Finance Committee executive session Sept. 7, the process stalled due to a hold placed on McKalip’s nomination that prevented an immediate vote by the full Senate. NMPF continues to advocate to Congress that agriculture cannot afford further delays and must have a full seat at the table during the myriad of ongoing and planned trade conversations.