President Biden nominated Elaine Trevino for Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)—a position that’s essential to protecting the interests of American agriculture and biotechnology.
If you recall…BIO urged the administration to nominate a chief ag negotiator during our President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath’s testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in July, and in this trade coalition letter.)
The Chief Ag 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,” says BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath.
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.
What they’re saying: “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.
Read: Unpacking Mexico’s economic and environmental paradox
Dr. Michelle’s Diagnosis: Modern trade agreements, such as USMCA, are moving beyond opening markets to improve regulatory cooperation with trading partners so that agricultural innovations in biotechnology can be used to combat climate change, address nutritional challenges, and improve sustainability. BIO is encouraged by the administration’s nomination of Elaine Trevino to serve as chief agricultural negotiator to help enforce key agriculture trade agreements. – BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath
Read: What to expect from the Biden administration’s agriculture policy and trade agenda