ASA Supports Creation of Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Ag Affairs

first_imgIn a letter this week to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the American Soybean Association (ASA) joined groups from multiple agricultural sectors in encouraging the inclusion of a provision in the Chairman’s Mark of the upcoming farm bill that would establish an Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).”[T]he trade organizational structure at USDA has remained unchanged since it was last reorganized in 1978,” stated the groups in the letter. “Over this period, the value and nature of U.S. agriculture exports has changed dramatically. In 1978, U.S. agriculture exports totaled $29 billion whereas in 2011 they reached $136 billion. In 1978, grains and oilseeds amounted to 60 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports while meat and poultry accounted for 3 percent and produce 6 percent. Now grains and oilseeds account for 36 percent of all agriculture exports while meat and poultry constitute 15 percent and produce 13 percent. Meanwhile, over the last 30 years the challenges that U.S. agriculture faces in global markets have increased and markedly changed from primarily tariff barriers to phytosanitary and other non-tariff trade barriers.”Also in the letter, ASA and its colleagues highlighted the coordination and streamlined cooperation within USDA that the new post would offer.”An Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs will provide a singular focus on trade and foster more effective coordination of transparent, rules-based trade policies in other USDA agencies,” continued the groups. “Such a position will bring unified high level representation to key trade negotiations with senior, foreign officials and within the Executive Branch. It will also allow future Administrations to recruit an Under Secretary who has extensive experience in international trade negotiation and policy issues. Furthermore, the creation of this Under Secretary position would help streamline management, create greater efficiencies and enhance emphasis in the Office of the Under Secretary responsible for key domestic programs.”ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by more than 21,000 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.###For more information contact:Patrick Delaney, ASA Communications Director, 202-969-7040, [email protected]last_img read more