Kansan Doud confirmed to USTR position

Mankato, Kansas, native Gregg Doud was confirmed March 1 by the U.S. Senate to serve as Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

“I’m pleased the U.S. Senate has advanced Gregg’s nomination,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts. “Our hard-working farmers, ranchers, end-users and folks in rural America have waited too long to be represented at the trade negotiating table.

“Raised on a farm in the great state of Kansas and possessing decades of agriculture and trade experience in Washington, I’m confident Gregg understands what trade means to agriculture, and he has the experience to help maintain U.S. agriculture’s role as a reliable supplier around the world.”

The Senate Finance Committee, of which Roberts is a senior member, held a hearing on Doud on Oct. 5. Doud’s nomination was favorably reported out of the committee with a bipartisan vote.

Once chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Doud’s confirmation was lauded by Kent Bacus, NCBA’s director of international trade, who said in a statement, “Gregg Doud has been a strong advocate for American farmers and ranchers for many years and NCBA is happy that the Senate has confirmed him as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator.

“The long nomination and confirmation process is over and U.S. agriculture finally has the representation we deserve at the negotiating table. We look forward to working with Gregg Doud and the staff at USTR to address the many trade barriers facing the U.S. beef industry.”

Doud has stressed agriculture should not be harmed during the NAFTA talks. He also said another area of work should be Japan.

“We are at a particularly critical juncture in terms of our competitiveness for U.S. meat exports into Japan,” Doud said during his hearing. “Failure to address this situation immediately does not bode well for our fiercely competitive and rapidly expanding production of beef, pork and poultry. In fact, this is not only true for Japan but for all Southeast Asia as well.

“Keeping in mind that the evolution of more liberalized trade in agricultural products takes a great deal of patience, we must also get started today in planting new trees of market access even though it may take time before we’re able to enjoy some shade from such efforts. In this category, India certainly comes to mind as a place, which, before long, could grow to be the most heavily populated nation on the planet.

“If confirmed, I look forward to working with Ambassador Lighthizer, and the stellar team of professionals at USTR to expand markets for U.S. agriculture. I also look forward to working closely with USDA’s new Undersecretary for Trade to make sure that agriculture always has a voice when it comes to the nearly $140 billion portfolio that is U.S. agricultural exports.”

Another industry group praised the Senate decision.

“We believe the confirmation of Gregg Doud will bring a needed agriculture voice to USTR’s political leadership,” stated National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule. “NAWG congratulates Doud on his appointment and are looking forward to working with him and his team in the future.”

Prior to his time with the Senate Agriculture Committee and NCBA, Doud served as a market analyst with U.S. Wheat Associates.

“We are pleased that Mr. Doud’s confirmation comes at a time when our organizations are actively engaged in discussions at home and overseas customers about trade policies that directly affect export demand,” said USW Chairman Mike Miller, a wheat farmer from Ritzville, Washington.

“We need his experience in the NAFTA renegotiation and to help prevent huge potential export losses under the new Trans-Pacific Partnership that will be signed March 8 without the United States.”

Also March 1, the Senate approved Dennis Shea to be USTR’s top official at the World Trade Organization in Geneva and C. J. Mahoney to be the deputy USTR responsible for trade in Africa, China, and the Western Hemisphere.

“Throughout his career, C.J. has demonstrated his impeccable character and clear expertise in trade issues,” Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, said in a statement. “I had the pleasure of having C.J., who grew up in Russell, Kansas, on my staff as one of my first interns during my time in the U.S. House of Representatives. I have always been impressed with his intelligence and talents, as well as his dedication to Kansas. He will be an asset to the USTR and to our nation.”

Added Roberts, “In meeting with Mr. Mahoney, what impressed me the most was his understanding of how trade decisions affect businesses and individuals across our state of Kansas. C.J. understands how important it is for the U.S. to be a reliable supplier to our current trading partners, but also, to expand markets to sell our products. This is especially important now, due to the rough patch the farm economy is currently facing.”

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Larry Dreiling can be reached at 785-628-1117 or [email protected].