Wheat Grower Organizations Welcome USTR Confirmation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2017) — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Robert Lighthizer today as the next U.S. Trade Representative. Fair access to international markets is crucial for America’s productive wheat farmers. Our organizations believe Ambassador Lighthizer fully understands that a strong agricultural economy depends on improving free trade opportunities and rules.

“We look forward to working with Amb. Lighthizer to help build new export opportunities for the farmers we represent,” said David Schemm, NAWG President and a wheat farmer from Sharon Springs, KS. “To that end, we also encourage him to quickly name a new U.S. Agricultural Trade Ambassador to represent agricultural interests in the upcoming re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and trade negotiations with Asia-Pacific nations.”

During his confirmation process, Amb. Lighthizer said “ensuring that our trading partners meet international trade obligations, especially those of the World Trade Organization, is a core foundation for fairer and freer trade.”

“We wholeheartedly agree,” said Jason Scott, USW Chairman and a wheat farmer from Easton, MD. “A good example is the U.S. dispute case against China’s excessive domestic wheat subsidies that violate its WTO membership agreement. The case recognizes that China’s policy restrains wheat trade and costs farmers in exporting countries billions of dollars every year. It is the kind of enforcement that we think must and will continue under Amb. Lighthizer.”

With the full support of Amb. Lighthizer, his negotiating team and the new interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity led by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, USW and NAWG believe we can overcome trade distorting policies and other barriers to help American farmers compete fairly for the increasing global demand for high quality wheat and other agricultural products.