BigNews.Biz - Mar 19,2017 - Roberts to Lighthizer: U.S. Needs a Robust Trade Policy
At nomination hearing, says U.S. Trade Representative must be a champion for agriculture
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaking at the nomination hearing of Robert Lighthizer to be U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said that the U.S. needs a trade representative that will be embark on a robust trade policy, with agriculture a key component of these conversations.
One of the first concerns Roberts addressed with the nominee was a list of trade priorities presented to Finance Committee members at a recent meeting with Peter Navarro and Jason Greenblatt, two of President Trump’s advisors on his newly formed White House National Trade Council.
“On this list of goals, agriculture was listed as number three,” Roberts said. “It should be number one.”
Roberts went on to express disbelief that Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) has continued to be floated.
“We’ve been down this road before,” Roberts said. “We fixed the issue of COOL in 2015 and we do not need to go down that road again. We narrowly escaped $3.2 billion in retaliatory tariffs against the United States. Mr. Lighthizer, we do not need a constantly changing list of ‘Key Elements of a Model Trade Agreement.’ What we need is a U.S. Trade Representative confirmed and in place that will be embark on a robust trade policy.”
Mr. Lighthizer said that he would prioritize agriculture.
Roberts then explained the tough farm economy saying, “In Kansas, we have grain on the ground. If we do not sell agriculture commodities over the next several months, you, sir, will have a problem on your hands. We all will have a problem on our hands.”
Roberts is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.