Senate Finance Committee hears from McKalip, administration’s pick for USTR Ag Negotiator

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Senate Finance Committee hears from McKalip, administration’s pick for USTR Ag Negotiator

The Senate Finance Committee heard testimony from the administration’s pick for chief ag negotiator during his confirmation hearing Thursday.

Doug McKalip told lawmakers market access is a priority. “I also look forward to ensuring farmers and ranchers are front and center as USTR looks to strengthen our trade relationships, execute new initiatives and address new challenges like China.”

Chairmen Ron Wyden of Oregon asked McKalip to address fertilizer export challenges with China. “I would want to work and directly engage with my Chinese counterparts to see how we can open up the flow of key inputs and minerals that can be used here at home for the manufacture fertilizer. Because having that shutoff is quite frankly affecting the marketplace and it’s affecting the bottom line.”

And, he said, securing other affordable inputs for farmers will be another priority. “Farmers in the U.S. need an advocate to help ensure that they have access to input materials they need to operate.  These are times of tremendous opportunity in international trade, but if the bills farmers have to pay for their inputs negate those gains, we will have missed an opportunity.”

Several ag groups are urging for the Senate to quickly confirm McKalip’s nomination.

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