USTR Chief Ag Negotiator Says More Trade Efforts in the Works

USTR Chief Ag Negotiator Says More Trade Efforts in the Works

Getting full market access for U.S. beef into Korea is a big priority.

Now that the trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea have been approved by Congress, those in agriculture are hoping to see even more trade efforts from the administration.

Chief Ag Negotiator for the United States Islam Siddiqui says one area of work is beef trade with South Korea. He says the U.S. Trade Representative has committed to Congress to seek consultations with that country.

"When you seek consultation, you are going to the negotiating table with the idea of bringing back the commitment of the Korean government made to full market access and will continue to seek that full opening of market access," Siddiqui said. "Even though trade right now is restricted to under 30 months, all products and all cuts of beef are doing great. Last year we exported about $508 million worth of beef to  Korea, this year is supposed to increase, based on the first six months of this year, about 40% of last year's trade."

Siddiqui says a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is also in the works now. He says most of the countries in the Asian Pacific region already have free trade agreements with the U.S.

"There have been eight rounds of negotiations on Trans-Pacific partnership," Siddiqui said. "We hope to continue to make progress when the leaders from the Asia Pacific region meet in the APAC meeting in Hawaii next month. We'll be reviewing with them the progress made and the path forward."

According to Siddiqui it will be a model 21st Century agreement.

"Especially in agriculture," Siddiqui said. "It is very important that we focus on this region because this is where most of the double digit growth is taking place. You have a larger middle class, consumer class, which is going to be asking for more grown in America products and we expect trade in agriculture in these areas and exports from the U.S. to increase in the coming years."

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