USA—U.S. President Joe Biden intends to nominate Doug McKalip, a veteran agricultural and trade policy expert to be the next chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of US Trade Representative (USTR).

On the nomination, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said McKalip has extensive international experience and more than 28 years of government service at the USDA.

There he worked as a senior adviser for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Biotechnology Regulatory Services. Prior to his role at APHIS, McKalip served in a number of advisory roles throughout the Obama Administration.

Since March 2021, he has served as senior advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on all agricultural matters relating to trade, national security, animal and plant health regulations, and a wide portfolio of domestic and international issues.

“Doug McKalip is eminently qualified to serve as chief agricultural negotiator with decades of experience in public service and deep knowledge in agricultural trade and national security,” said Mike Seyfert, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Grain and Feed Association.

He added that his experience working in the government makes him an ideal candidate for representing and advocating on behalf of US agricultural interests to expand export opportunities and maintain US competitiveness in the global marketplace.

“We look forward to working with McKalip to leverage opportunities to tackle trade barriers and open new markets for the US animal food industry.” said Constance Cullman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Feed Industry Association.

According to President and Chief Executive Officer of Pet Food Institute, Dana Brooks, supply chain issues have been a source of difficulty for US pet food makers and have only been exasperated by the war in Ukraine.

“We look forward to working with Mr. McKalip to leverage opportunities to tackle trade barriers and open new markets for the U.S. animal food industry,” she said.

The U.S. animal food manufacturing industry relies heavily on trade. In 2021, U.S. animal feed and pet food manufacturers exported over US$7.5 billion in products, including US$5.5 billion in feed and feed ingredients and US$2 billion in pet food products, a 22% increase in value over 2020.

In a statement, USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai said: “USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator will play a pivotal role in maintaining and building on these successes on behalf of America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and producers.”

The USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator has the rank of ambassador, requiring confirmation through the full Senate and the Senate Finance Committee.

His nomination will now be submitted to the Senate Finance Committee where his confirmation process will begin.

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