WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01), and Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02) today participated in a roundtable with agriculture stakeholders, tribal leaders, and farmers following a tour of the Washington State University Breadlab.
During the roundtable, Ambassador Tai discussed how trade can help Washington’s agricultural industries and its producers. The Ambassador highlighted the importance of creating more inclusive trade policies that can deliver shared prosperity and growth to the agricultural sector.
Ambassador Tai also touted the benefits of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, noting how it would fund repairs to Washington’s roads and bridges that roundtable participants use to transport their products.
Ambassador Tai’s opening remarks from the roundtable, as prepared for delivery, are below:
Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for being here. I am excited to be in Washington today, and I want to thank Congresswoman DelBene for showcasing her district today. I’d also like to thank Congressman Larsen for joining this roundtable.
We just finished a tour of the Breadlab here at Washington State University. It is a perfect example of how we can merge nutrition with sustainable agriculture practices in a way that helps our domestic producers.
Over the last several months, I’ve met with a range of agriculture stakeholders – from small, family-owned producers to leaders at the American Farm Bureau Federation – to better understand their perspective and make sure our trade policy lifts up the sector.
That is why I’m here today. I want to have a candid conversation with you about how past trade policies have helped you and where improvements are needed.
Our top priority is making sure you can bring your products to new markets and new customers and holding our trading partners accountable for their commitments.
In May, we requested a dispute settlement panel to review whether Canada’s policies were preventing American dairy producers from getting their products to Canadian customers.
In June we reached agreements with the EU and UK on the Boeing/Airbus dispute that included a long-term suspension of tariffs.
Last month, I also visited Mexico City and emphasized the importance of Mexico taking the final steps to expand access for fresh U.S. potatoes throughout Mexico.
Taken together, our early actions demonstrate how this Administration intends to be a strong advocate for our agriculture industry and its producers.
But we know there is more work to do. Even as we see strong signs of economic recovery – 3 million jobs created in the first five months of our administration, historic economic growth – we know we need to Build Back Better.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will invest in clean energy technology, repair the roads and bridges that you use to transport your products, build resilient energy networks, and eliminate lead pipes in our drinking water.
This bill, on top of the President’s Build Back Better agenda, will create approximately 2 million jobs annually over the next ten years.
In addition to the economic benefits, investment in American infrastructure is critical to our long-term security and maintaining our competitive edge in the global economy. I hope Congress will quickly pass it and send it to the President’s desk.
Additionally, I hope this conversation can explore how USTR and Congress can continue to support your industry and your work. We want to be a catalyst, not a barrier, to your prosperity and growth.
Again, thank you for hosting me today and I’m looking forward to our discussion.