More on Trade
Over the last four years, we have seen our trade relationships and trade agreements updated at record rates. Now with Ambassador Katherine Tai, who most recently served on the staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, sworn in as the new United States Trade Representative, it is time to hit the ground running and pick up where the previous administration left off by leveling the playing field with our trade partners, improving market access for U.S. goods, and finalizing pending free trade agreements.
Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Adrian Smith (R-NE) and Jim Costa (D-CA) today along with Rodney Davis (R-IL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), and Mike Thompson (D-CA), led a bipartisan group of colleagues in a letter to Michael A. Khouri, Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission, voicing concern over reports that certain vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs) are declining to ship U.S. agricultural commodity exports from U.S. ports.
Over the last four years, we have updated our trade relationships and trade agreements at a historic pace. We secured updated comprehensive trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, and South Korea; entered into Phase One agreements with China and Japan that address many significant impediments to U.S. exporters in these major markets; and achieved important progress to remove trade barriers faced by particular sectors in several other countries. Together, these nations purchase almost 50 percent of the United States’ current exports.
Expanding trade opportunities by opening more markets for U.S. ag producers, manufacturers, and service providers is one of the best ways to strengthen our economy and provide stability for producers and consumers. Finding new trading partners while strengthening existing relationships with allies like Japan, is of the utmost importance. The market access we gained in Phase One of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, which President Trump signed last year, was significant and we should not squander the opportunity to complete the deal.
There is no doubt Nebraska is an agricultural powerhouse. In 2019, despite our small size in population, Nebraska was the sixth largest agriculture exporter in the nation. Our state’s agriculture has a real impact on our nation and beyond. It should come as no surprise the Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Gregg Doud, had an interest in seeing the remarkable process of agriculture up close.
Scottsbluff, Nebraska – Governor Pete Ricketts, Ambassador Gregg Doud, Chief Agriculture Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) participated in a tour of agriculture locations in Western Nebraska today, highlighting the importance of agriculture and trade to Nebraska.
The locations visited and events attended were: a roundtable discussion with the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission, a facility tour of New Alliance Bean Co., Western Sugar, and a Dry Bean Harvest Demo.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) and Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) led nearly 20 of their colleagues in writing to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, requesting he work to terminate Brazil’s use of a trade rate quota (TRQ) on U.S ethanol. Currently, Brazil has a 20% tariff on out-of-quota imports of U.S. ethanol while Brazil enjoys nearly tariff-free access to the U.S. market. In the letter, Smith requested Brazil implement its previous zero-duty exemption for U.S. ethanol.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), released the following statement after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) went into effect on July 1, 2020. The USMCA improves upon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed more than 25 years ago, while the benefits of NAFTA to Nebraska agriculture remain intact for a future generation.
Exports alone make up more than 12 percent of the United States GDP. Expanding trade markets benefits our economy, relationships with other countries, and consumers. With something so critical as trade, we need to constantly be thinking about ways to improve in this vital area. For this reason, while the ongoing pandemic has disrupted day-to-day life around our nation, the Trump administration has continued its work negotiating and implementing multiple trade agreements with the support of many in Congress.
Much has changed in the four months since President Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) into law back in December – not the least of which is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, what has not changed is the importance of this agreement.
Recovering financially from the economic damage caused by the pandemic will require an all-out effort on a nation-wide scale. Thankfully, the American people have demonstrated toughness and resilience throughout our history. We know we will get through this.