January 26, 2020

Trade; Biofuels; Ag Economy; Farm Bill; CFTC; and Regulations


Elizabeth Williamson reported in today’s Wall Street Journal that, “The White House notified Congress Wednesday that it was ready to begin talks on passage of trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, after Colombia complied with the first stage of an action plan to improve labor rights in that country.

“The Obama administration at the same time pledged to seek talks with Seoul over lifting remaining restrictions on U.S. beef imports after the Korea trade pact is passed. The move was aimed at winning support for the Korea deal from Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.), who has pushed hard to lift Korea’s ban on beef from cattle older than 30 months. Mr. Baucus hailed the pledge as a ‘crucial commitment.’”

The Journal article added that, “The White House told Congress in a letter that renewal of programs designed to train and assist workers displaced by trade agreements is vital to the administration’s legislative agenda on trade. So too is an agreement that lowers tariffs on imports from certain Latin American countries, including Colombia, in order to discourage growth of the drug trade in those nations.

“Renewal of those programs is a ‘key component’ of the administration’s overall plan on trade, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in Wednesday’s letter to Congress. A vote to renew the Trade Adjustment Assistance program and the Andean Trade Preferences program failed this year over concerns about its costs and Republican demands that the administration move to complete the Colombia trade deal first.”