USDA trade under Secretary visits Des Moines

Published: Oct. 22, 2018 at 5:56 AM CDT
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The USDA official in charge of trade was in Des Moines this week visiting the World Food Prize. Ted McKinney is the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and was formerly the Indiana director of agriculture. At the World Food Prize, he delivered the keynote address during the Friday morning breakfast. But on Thursday, at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, he was in a roundtable talk with farm groups and local agriculture leaders.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says it was good to welcome the Under Secretary back to Iowa, "Ted's somebody many of us have known for a long time, Ted knows Iowa agriculture well. So, it's good to know in addition to folks like Bill Northey who are also at USDA that we've got leadership in those roles that understand the importance of in this case, trade, to Iowa agriculture"

Naig adds it is important to get trade partnerships right, pointing to current trade disputes and attempts at new agreements.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announcing plans to begin talks with the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Japan. There is a lot of precedent for new trade deals.

The Trump Administration has been looking at a deal with Japan, but McKinney says he doesn't want to set timelines on an agreement, "But at the same time, I don't think it's going to take year or years. I mean, think of the templates that are already there. They have their own trading partnerships. They've done a free trade agreement with Europe, that's in template language. We've just finished USMCA, there's some wonderful language there. TPP has some terrific language specific to agriculture "

McKinney stressed that the announcement from the USTR makes it clear that the United States will not try to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The deal with Japan will be bilateral.