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Arrington Urges USDA & USTR to Prioritize Agriculture in Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Discussions

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Rep. Jodey C. Arrington (TX-19) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), along with 89 bipartisan colleagues, sent a letter to Ambassador Katherine Tai and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging them to prioritize agriculture in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a strong reminder of the importance of having a diverse and abundant food supply. As food prices climb, it is critical that this Administration prioritizes our agriculture producers as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework discussions move forward. We must aggressively pursue additional global markets and increase engagement with countries that rely on nefarious actors like Russia and China in order to maintain a strong and stable global food system,” said Rep. Jodey C. Arrington.

“American agriculture producers lead the world in sustainable production and labor standards.  As the Biden Administration formulates the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework with key trade partners, I urge them to prioritize agriculture by setting high standards for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, and by reducing tariff and non-tariff trade barriers wherever they can,” said Rep. Jimmy Panetta. “Our farmers and ranchers are ready to feed the world, and we cannot not let discriminatory regulations or a lack of cooperation stand in their way.”

“American ag producers feed the world. Solidifying a strong agriculture trade agreement with the Indo-Pacific region would create more American jobs, add real dollars to our economy, and combat China’s influence in the region. Agriculture needs to have a seat at the table during these negotiations,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson.

“As a third-generation farmer, I know firsthand how essential American agricultural producers are in feeding the world. Prioritizing American farm products in the Indo-Pacific region would boost the American economy and will give developing nations in this region greater access to a more reliable, sustainable food source. It would also help the Biden administration meet its goal of promoting high environmental and labor standards with Indo-Pacific nations,” said Rep. Jim Costa.

“The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is a strong approach to improving economic relationships in this vital region for U.S. agricultural exports. Our focus is on removing trade barriers to agricultural products and expanding access to American goods in the region,” said Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“With free and fair trade an integral part of the International Fresh Produce Association’s strategic priorities, we applaud Congressman Panetta’s efforts to ensure U.S. agriculture is prioritized in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. This region includes key markets for fresh fruits and vegetables grown by many IFPA members, yet non-tariff trade barriers continue to hamper the flow of products. We look forward to working with leadership to address these challenges and providing our expertise wherever possible,” said Robert Guenther, Chief Policy Office at the International Fresh Produce Association.

“Expanding export market access opportunities for American-made dairy products is vitally important to dairy farmers and processors. We appreciate the leadership of Representatives Panetta and Arrington in urging the Administration to use the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework discussions to deliver meaningful gains for America’s farmers and food manufacturers by tackling both tariff and nontariff barriers to U.S. agricultural exports,” said Jaime Castaneda, Executive Vice President of Policy Development & Strategy for the National Milk Producers Federation & the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “Our members are eager to ensure that the U.S. government makes full use of the currently envisioned trade tools to meaningfully improve dairy export opportunities while also continuing to evaluate additional ways to remove barriers to exports.”

“BIO thanks Representatives Panetta, Arrington, Costa, Johnson, Kind, and Feenstra for leading this effort and calling on the Administration to make agriculture a priority in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, including the need to address barriers to agricultural biotechnology,” said BIO’s Vice President of Agriculture and Environment Sarah Gallo. “Cutting-edge innovations in agriculture will be critical to reducing emissions and helping domestic producers adapt to a changing environment while sustainably bolstering productivity. To facilitate agricultural trade and innovation, the U.S. government must collaborate with key international partners to implement a transparent and science-based risk assessment process for agricultural biotechnology.”

The letter is supported by: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Soybean Association, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, California Citrus Mutual, California Fam Bureau Federation, California Walnut Commission, Corn Refiners Association, Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., International Fresh Produce Association, Leather and Hide Council of America, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Milk Producers Federation, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Meat Institute, Northwest Horticultural Council, Texas Association of Dairymen, U.S. Apple Association, U.S. Dairy Export Council, Western Growers Association, Wine Institute.

Click here for the full text of the letter.


Congressman Jodey Arrington is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving the Nineteenth Congressional District of Texas. He serves as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.