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Members of USTR and USDA Meet with Agricultural Policy and Technical Advisory Committees

By Nadya Khapochkina, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement 

Yesterday, Acting U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) and the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs) to discuss the Administration’s ambitious trade agenda and the critically important role of U.S. agriculture within that agenda. In her remarks, Acting USTR Sapiro stressed the significant value of dialogue between members of the agricultural sector and the USTR’s office.

During the discussion segment with members, Acting USTR Sapiro and Secretary Vilsack emphasized the importance of close cooperation between the two agencies, as well as the need for feedback from the agricultural community concerning trade negotiations. Recently implemented trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and Korea have all resulted in new and expanding export opportunities for U.S. agriculture. Looking forward, the successful conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will provide even more opportunities to expand exports. The pending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations provide a further opportunity to eliminate tariffs and address non-tariff barriers facing U.S. agricultural exports. Earlier on the agenda, Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, Chief Agricultural Negotiator at USTR and Darci Vetter, Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at USDA , provided insight on a number of issues, including the state of agricultural negotiations at the World Trade Organization.

U.S. agricultural exports reached record levels in 2012, and produced an agricultural trade surplus of $42.2 billion. Ensuring that our agricultural sector continues to effectively participate in foreign markets will support domestic jobs for America’s farmers, ranchers, and the businesses they support.