In a letter sent this week to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, 22 Republican senators ask what specific actions the Biden administration plans to take this year to increase U.S. agricultural exports. The letter cited data from the last fiscal year (FY), which shows that U.S. agricultural exports declined by more than $17 billion, and recent forecasts show a further decline of more than $8 billion in FY 2024.

“We expect trade to fluctuate in response to macroeconomic factors and market conditions,” the senators wrote. “However, the current sharp decline in U.S. agricultural exports is directly attributable to and exacerbated by an unambitious U.S. trade strategy that is failing to meaningfully expand market access or reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. While the Biden administration continually refuses to pursue traditional free trade agreements, China, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and others continue to ink trade pacts that diminish American export opportunities and global economic influence.”

The senators asked for a response to the following two questions:

  • What specific actions does the Biden administration plan to take to increase U.S. agricultural exports in 2024?
  • Does the Biden administration intend to pursue new or improved free trade agreements with any countries to obtain new market access for agricultural products in 2024?

The letter concluded by asking the Biden administration to take steps to analyze and consider the relationship between U.S. competitiveness and market share in foreign agricultural markets with negotiated tariffs, tariff rate quotas, and other market access provisions.

The letter can be accessed here.