Wanted: Chief Agricultural Negotiator
As the sixth round of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade agreement are underway in Montreal. Not only are ag groups lobbying the White House to stay in the negotiation, but they’ve also started a campaign to have Gregg Doud confirmed to his post as chief agricultural negotiator by the Senate.
President Trump announced Doud, a former Senate ag staffer and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) official, as the nominee for chief agricultural negotiator to the U.S. Trade Representative in mid-June. Still, the Senate has not confirmed his appointment which also means he has not been able to participate in the NAFTA talks. The Packer reports Senator Jeff Flake put a hold on Doud's confirmation because of the Trump administration's proposal to use trade laws as a remedy against surges of Mexican imports. NCBA is calling the move irresponsible. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts opposes the hold saying that it actually has nothing to do with Doud.
Negotiations continue to march along without somebody to fill ag’s seat at the table.