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Ernst to Biden: Stick Up for Our Farmers, Prioritize Trade

The Iowa senator is concerned the Biden administration is falling short on pursuing important free trade initiatives, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a fierce advocate for Iowa farmers, is calling on President Biden and his administration to stick up for American agriculture by prioritizing market access initiatives as part of the U.S. trade agenda.

In a joint letter to the Biden administration’s top agriculture and trade officials—U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai—Ernst and several fellow senators expressed concern that the Biden administration is falling short on pursuing important free trade initiatives, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region, and called for them to take action on “meaningful and enforceable market access commitments.”

The lawmakers state: “Advancing U.S. economic interests – particularly in the Indo-Pacific region – requires meaningful and enforceable market access commitments. We are concerned that the Biden administration is foregoing America’s trade and strategic leadership by failing to pursue such commitments, whether through its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) or through its decision not to pursue comprehensive free trade agreements, which was reflected in the President’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda.

They go on: “The lack of ambitious market-opening initiatives not only disadvantages U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses today, it jeopardizes America’s competitiveness, resilience, and security in the long-term.”


Ernst has adamantly pushed the Biden administration to act on trade. After the Biden administration announced it would be prioritizing domestic policy before considering negotiations on new free trade agreements, Ernst joined Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on a letter to the president urging him to begin tackling trade challenges and to seek new trade agreements in the Indo-Pacific region to counter growing Chinese influence and provide farmers with needed certainty. In another letter, Ernst pressed Biden to address the vacancy for the USDA Undersecretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and pointed out his failure to hold China accountable for deviating from their commitments.

The letter to Vilsack and Tai was led by Senators John Thune (R-S.D), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and John Boozman (R-Ark.). To read the full letter, click here.