President Joe Biden nominated Elaine Trevino for Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). This position is essential to protecting the interests of American agriculture and biotechnology.
Previously, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) urged the administration to nominate a chief ag negotiator. BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath’s provided testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in July 2021, and signed a trade coalition letter.
The chief agricultural negotiator “plays a pivotal role in opening markets for U.S. agriculture and crafting trade agreements to ensure a level playing field for U.S. farmers,” said Dr. McMurry-Heath.
Who is Elaine Trevino?
The first woman of color and first Latina who would fill the position, Trevino has a long career promoting agriculture exports. Currently President of the Almond Alliance of California, she previously served as Deputy Secretary of California’s Department of Food and Agriculture under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, where she focused on the state’s ag exports.
“As the leader of an organization that advocates for California’s leading agricultural export, Elaine understands tariff and nontariff barriers to trade and the importance of maintaining America’s strong trade agreements and global positioning,” said U.S. Trade Rep. Ambassador Katherine Tai.
If confirmed, she’ll face tough challenges—including Mexico’s failure to comply with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by not issuing ag biotech approvals.