Senate Finance Committee approves Doug McKalip as chief ag negotiator

Senate Finance Committee approves Doug McKalip as chief ag negotiator
Sep 08, 2022

The nomination moves to the full senate for a final vote

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is one step closer to having its chief agricultural negotiator in place.

On Sept. 7, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved Doug McKalip’s nomination to serve as chief ag negotiator by a vote of 27-0.

McKalip first appeared in front of the finance committee on July 28.

The bipartisan support shows McKalip is the right person for the position, said United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

“Today’s unanimous vote by the Senate Finance Committee sends a strong, bipartisan message that Doug McKalip will be an outstanding chief agricultural negotiator,” she said in a statement. “Doug’s decades of public service and his unparalleled knowledge of agricultural and food security issues will be a major asset to our office as we continue to advance a trade agenda that benefits our farmers, ranchers, and producers.”

With the committee’s support, McKalip’s nomination moves to the full senate for a final vote.

It’s unknown at this point when that vote will occur.

But ag industry groups are urging the senate to act quickly and confirm McKalip’s nomination.

 “The vote comes at an important time as current and future trading partners are looking to the United States to meet a growing demand for food, fuel and fiber,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Burrau Federation. “AFBF is eager to work with Mr. McKalip and Ambassador Tai to strengthen current agreements and create new opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers. We urge the full Senate to quickly confirm Doug McKalip.”

Lawmakers want McKalip confirmed quickly too.

Representatives from the U.S. and 13 Indo-Pacific countries are launching trade negotiations soon on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

Having the chief ag negotiator in place can ensure agriculture is represented in those talks and future trade discussions.

“Strong trade relations and well-negotiated trade agreements are imperative to our success as a state,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. “It is important we have an effective Chief Agricultural Negotiator to help reduce trade barriers, expand market access for products, and ensure our farmers and ranchers can compete in the global economy.”

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