Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), traveled to Richmond, Virginia today to deliver remarks to the 2013 Virginia Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade. The Conference is jointly organized by the Virginia Department of Agriculture, the Farm Bureau, the Port Authority, and Virginia Tech University, and has become an anticipated event for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural trade stakeholders.
In his remarks to attendees, Ambassador Siddiqui spoke at length about the latest developments in agricultural trade, and detailed USTR’s efforts to help U.S. farmers and ranchers boost their exports. He described the important role of agricultural trade in supporting jobs and strengthening the economy in Virginia and across the United States. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service estimates that in 2013, $142 billion in U.S. agricultural exports will support over a million jobs for farmers, ranchers, and exporters.
Ambassador Siddiqui’s remarks underscored the excitement surrounding recent agricultural trade announcements. Farmers and ranchers stand to benefit from a new agreement between the U.S. and Japan which will pave the way for expanded exports of U.S. beef , the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which President Obama unveiled in his State of the Union address. Ambassador Siddiqui concluded by reiterating USTR’s commitments to our agricultural trade stakeholders to open markets, level the playing field, and ensure fair treatment from our trading partners under the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).