AFB Wants White House to Engage on Trade This Year

The American Farm Bureau says it’s time for the White House to “engage” on trade, after a year that saw little progress on new trade deals.

From China to the UK and EU to Kenya, Farm Bureau Trade Adviser Dave Salmonsen says there is much to do, to bring down barriers to U.S. farm goods.

“There’s a lot that could be done, moving towards future agreements with China. We want this administration to start to engage more in the Asia Pacific region. One of those ways would be to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or as has been renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership.”

There’s also the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that took effect January first and includes China, Japan, Australia, and other Asian countries, but not the United States.

“The U.S. needs to engage, and of course there’s potential to pick up negotiations that were started with United Kingdom, with Kenya. And of course, there’s always room for more discussion and to try to reduce trade barriers with the European Union.”

Asked about the first-year Biden emphasis on domestic versus trade issues, Salmonsen says the administration can do both.

“Do the domestic focus and also work on the international issues, it’s always been said that when foreign leaders come to the White House, they’re always there to talk about trade issues.”

Key he says, for the overall U.S. economy—and agriculture. Salmonsen concludes, “as much as an administration wants to set out its own agenda, the world continues.”