Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore) and ranking Republican Mike Crapo (Idaho) unveiled legislation last week to boost US exports of specialty crops.
The bill would make key improvements to the Agriculture Department’s annual US Specialty Crops Trade Issues Report, in order to more effectively identify and combat unreasonable trade barriers to US exports.
A companion bill is being introduced in the House by Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore), David Valadao (R-Calif) and Elissa Slotkin (R-Mich).
The Specialty Crops Reporting on Opportunities and Promotion Act responds to continued high tariffs, burdensome labeling requirements and other trade barriers that restrict US products from accessing foreign markets, threatening rural communities and agricultural producers who depend on customers overseas, according to the senators.
“Our bipartisan bill will help rural Americans by identifying unfair foreign trade barriers and creating specific plans to cut through that red tape,” Sen. Wyden commented.
The bill’s proposed improvements to the Speciality Crops Report “will arm producers and trade negotiators with detailed and up-to-date information, helping break down longstanding trade barriers, diversify export markets and expand export opportunities,” according to Sen. Crapo.
The bill would make the following improvements to the specialty crops report:
The Foreign Agricultural Service and Commodity Credit Corporation, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a Final rule supporting agricultural trade promotion.
The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is amending the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program regulation to implement the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP).
The RAPP will provide assistance to eligible organizations that conduct market promotion activities, including activities to address existing or potential non-tariff barriers to trade, to promote U.S. agricultural commodities in certain foreign markets.
Among other changes, this rule updates terminology used throughout the regulation, clarifies timeframes for reporting requirements, and removes the specific application and review requirements from the regulation to be defined in Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) announced through the Grants.gov website.
This rule is effective November 17, 2023. Although not required by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), CCC will accept comments received by December 18, 2023.