Audio: USMEF Looks Forward to Working with New USTR and USDA Undersecretary for Trade

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Ambassador Robert Lighthizer was sworn in May 15 as the new U.S. trade representative. Although he was the last of President Trump’s cabinet-level appointments to received Senate confirmation, Lighthizer was confirmed last week on a vote of 82-14.

In the attached audio report, Thad Lively, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for trade access, speaks to the important roles the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) plays in negotiating new trade agreements, enforcing existing agreements and ensuring that the United States is properly protected under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Lively also comments on the recent announcement that a new undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs will be established at USDA, in accordance with the 2014 farm bill.


Joe Schuele: Robert Lighthizer has been confirmed to lead the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. In this U.S. Meat Export Federation report, Senior Vice President for Trade Access Thad Lively speaks to the importance of having this agency at full strength.

Thad Lively: Ambassador Lighthizer has a very strong resume and is well thought of in the trade community in Washington so we are certain he will bring a great deal of valuable experience and understanding of global trade and the challenges that we face, so we’re very pleased that he has been confirmed by the Senate. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, of course, has the leading role in the U.S. government in negotiating trade agreements, but it also has a very important role in enforcing existing trade agreements, and also in ensuring that the rights of the United States are well-protected under the rules of the WTO. We expect all of those areas to be energetically pursued under Ambassador Lighthizer’s leadership.

Joe Schuele: Lively also commented on the announcement that an undersecretary for trade will be established at USDA.

Thad Lively: What is envisioned under this restructuring is that there will be a new undersecretary for trade at USDA. There hasn’t been such a position up to now. In our view at USMEF, this is a very important development, something that we have supported from the beginning and that we first discussed four or five years ago. By creating a sub-cabinet level position and assigning the person in that position with sole responsibility for trade, it’s a clear sign that the Department and the industry generally is placing a much higher premium on trade and its place in the future of U.S. agriculture .

Joe Schuele: For more information, please visit For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.