The administrator of USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service, Michael Michener, addressed nearly 300 attendees at the U.S. Grains Council's 49th Annual Board of Delegates meeting Monday in San Diego, Calif.
"We must address pending free trade agreements and revitalize the Doha Round," Michener said. "The complexities are immense and the stakes are high but we must come to an agreement that is fair for U.S. agriculture."
At that same meeting, Jim Wiesemeyer, senior vice president of policy and trade issues for Informa Economics, said he believes the dynamics in Washington pose challenges for trade, but says trade will soon become a priority. He noted - both political parties have turned protectionist. However, Wiesemeyer did offer his perspective on areas of optimism for U.S. agricultural trade.
Wiesemeyer said NAFTA will not be renegotiated and will stay the successful agreement it has proved to be to-date. And the U.S./Panama free trade agreement pending approval from Congress may be approved this year, which will yield many benefits for U.S. farmers and all of U.S. agriculture. As for Doha, Wiesemeyer said an agreement will occur only if the leaders want it to.