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Senate confirms Doug McKalip as USTR chief ag negotiator

USTR staff work with the chief agricultural negotiator to remove trade barriers for U.S. agricultural exports.

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Will work with the US Trade Representative’s office to remove trade barriers for agricultural exports

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Doug McKalip to serve as chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office. The nomination was confirmed by a voice vote on December 22.

USTR staff work with the chief agricultural negotiator to remove trade barriers for U.S. agricultural exports and collaborate with colleagues across the U.S. government, particularly the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to advance U.S. trade interests, according to the USTR’s website.

McKalip has been a key ag policy official for nearly to 30 years and previously was a senior adviser to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. He has served in numerous leadership positions in USDA and represented American farmers, ranchers and agriculture around the world while advocating for U.S. agricultural products and technology.

Agricultural groups including the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) praised the confirmation.

“Congratulations to Doug McKalip on his confirmation in this critically important trade position to the U.S. agricultural economy. He is exceptionally qualified to lead in this role, which NGFA members have been eager to see filled so that U.S. agriculture can be better represented and promoted in trade negotiations around the world,” said NGFA President and CEO Mike Seyfert in a statement.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) also welcomed McKalip’s confirmation.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased that, after several months of delay, Doug McKalip was finally confirmed as chief agricultural negotiator for USTR. Doug has proven he is more than qualified for the position with more than three decades of agricultural experience,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. “There is much work to be done. Current disagreements over exports to Mexico and potential new trade relationships with the European Union and Great Britain require the leadership Doug brings to the position. We look forward to working with him to create more opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers to feed families around the globe.”

The Senate last week also filled another key trade position, with the confirmation of Alexis Taylor to serve as undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs at the USDA, a position which helps provide U.S. farmers and ranchers with international trade opportunities.

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