Twenty-Four Senators Urge Administration to Prioritize U.S. Trade and Agriculture Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today joined colleagues in chiding the Biden administration’s “backseat” approach to expand U.S. agricultural and other trade, and strongly encouraged the White House to prioritize market access initiatives as part of America’s trade agenda.

Twenty-four Senators signed a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that outlines their concern over the administration’s approach to trade, which affects markets for U.S. agricultural products and American influence around the world.

“Advancing U.S. economic interests – particularly in the Indo-Pacific region – requires meaningful and enforceable market access commitments,” the Senators wrote.  “We are concerned that the Biden administration is foregoing America’s trade and strategic leadership by failing to pursue such commitments, whether through its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) or through its decision not to pursue comprehensive free trade agreements, which was reflected in the President’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda.  The lack of ambitious market-opening initiatives not only disadvantages U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses today, it jeopardizes America’s competitiveness, resilience, and security in the long-term.”

“Regrettably, U.S. trade leadership has thus far taken a backseat to other priorities under this administration. But, as you know, global trade does not simply pause until the administration deems it worthy of pursuing,” the Senators continued.

The Senators stressed the importance of fair market access for U.S. goods, pointing out that farm and food product exports grew from $46.1 billion in 1994 to more than $177 billion in 2021—largely due to greater market access opportunities for American exporters.

In seeking greater market access and enforceable commitments as part of the IPEF and any other U.S. trade agreements, the Senators also contrasted the Biden administration’s trade record with China’s aggressive trade agenda.

U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and John Boozman (R-Ark.) led the letter, which was also signed by these members of the Senate Agriculture and Senate Finance committees:  Hyde-Smith, John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

Click here to read the letter.