USDA Creates Trade Undersecretary Post
As background, Section 3208 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, Pub. L. 113-70 (7 USC §6935) required the Secretary of Agriculture to propose a reorganization of international trade functions for imports and exports, including a plan for the establishment of the Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (U/Sec TFAA).
On May 11, 2017, newly minted USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the establishment of an Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs as part of a reorganization of USDA. As part of the reorganization, the Foreign Agricultural Service will be situated under the new Undersecretary for Trade, and the Undersecretary for Trade will work alongside the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The creation of this new post has been well-received by industry. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, for example, released a statement noting that “establishing this new Undersecretary for Trade position was one of [their] top priorities for 2017” and that the position “will play a vital role in leading USDA’s efforts to capitalize on foreign demand for U.S. agriculture products.” The National Turkey Federation and National Pork Producers Council also released congratulatory statements.
It remains to be seen the extent to which the creation of this new post will further advance trade policies that will benefit American agriculture.