Senators urge Biden administration to expand ag trade Sarah Gonzalez March 14, 2024

Senators urge Biden administration to expand ag trade

In a March 13 letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, 22 Republican senators urged the Biden administration to increase U.S. agricultural exports and improve the competitiveness of U.S. products abroad. 

“We write to express deep concern with the continued erosion of critical markets for U.S. agricultural exports,” wrote the senators, noting that in the last fiscal year (FY), U.S. agricultural exports declined by more than $17 billion. Recent forecasts show a further decline by more than $8 billion in FY 2024 and U.S. agricultural trade deficit is projected to reach a record $30.5 billion in FY 2024.

“This decline is unsustainable, and we urge the Biden administration to immediately take action to improve the competitiveness of U.S. agricultural products abroad and reverse this trend,” the senators wrote. “While the Biden administration continually refuses to pursue traditional free trade agreements, China, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and others continue to ink trade pacts that diminish American export opportunities and global economic influence.”

International trade is critical to the continued success of U.S. agriculture, the senators added, noting that for the 2023 marketing year, nearly 70 million acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat were planted to meet the demands of foreign customers.

The senators asked the administration to respond with specific actions it plans to take to increase U.S. agricultural exports in 2024 and whether the administration intends to pursue new or improved free trade agreements in 2024.

“We further ask the Biden administration to take steps to analyze and consider the relationship between U.S. competitiveness and market share in foreign agricultural markets with negotiated tariffs, tariff rate quotas, and other market access provisions,” they concluded.