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.

Dairy Urges Swift Full Senate Confirmation of Doug McKalip as Chief Agricultural Negotiator

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today called for the full Senate to swiftly confirm Doug McKalip to serve as Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) after the Senate Finance Committee today voted in favor of the nomination. The committee held a hearing on McKalip in July.

“It is deeply unfortunate that the position of chief agricultural negotiator has gone unfilled for so long,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Today’s Senate Finance Committee vote in support of Mr. McKalip’s nomination is a critical step toward getting U.S. agriculture’s chief advocate installed at USTR. Given the strength of his credentials and the urgency in advancing the U.S. agricultural trade agenda, we ask the Senate to act without delay to approve McKalip. As the U.S. prepares to advance numerous trade policy vehicles that hold the potential to positively impact our exports, it’s essential that agriculture’s seat at the table be filled.”

“We thank the Senate Finance Committee for its action today in support of Mr. McKalip’s nomination and the committee’s recognition of just how important this position is for American agriculture,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “McKalip understands the needs of the U.S. dairy industry, agricultural workers and the rural economy, having skillfully served in numerous government roles touching on agricultural issues throughout his career. Now, we ask the full Senate to take up the matter and approve McKalip’s nomination in the coming few weeks. Time is of the essence, as USTR considers a broad range of new trade endeavors.”

McKalip brings to the position decades of experience representing the interests of U.S. agriculture, having served in an impressive array of leadership positions at USDA and the White House.