U.S. farm groups hope the Obama administration will soon turn its focus to finding ways to expand trade. They worry they could lose ground in important foreign markets if the administration, consumed by health care reform and climate change legislation, waits too long to move trade near the top of its agenda.
Rebecca Bratter, policy director with market development group U.S. Wheat Associates, says trade is their lifeblood and somehow they need to let the administration know that trade fits into their current priorities.
Much of the focus is on pending deals with South Korea and Columbia. Bratter says they are fighting to keep their market there, because it will be lost without a deal, and that means $100 million a year out the window. Additional focus is on the long-running Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks. Those talks could improve U.S. trade prospects with China and India.