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Ambassador McKalip Talks Trade Landscape at TAC 2023


U.S. Trade Representative Doug McKalip, ABC's Julie Adams and Monte Vista's Jonathan Hoff discuss the current trade environment at The Almond Conference 2023 in December.

The Almond Board of California welcomed U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Chief Agriculture Negotiator Doug McKalip at The Almond Conference 2023 in December. Ambassador McKalip shared pivotal insights during the annual State of the Industry address, and again during an Almond Journey podcast interview with Julie Adams, vice president of Global Technical and Regulatory Affairs at ABC. 

Ambassador McKalip emphasized the significant role of almonds in contributing to the United States' health and economy. Acknowledging the export-driven nature of the industry, McKalip highlighted the Biden-Harris administration's commitment to ensuring equitable benefits from agricultural trade. A major focus for the administration has been placed on specialty crops, particularly tree nuts, with the goal of opening new global markets and ensuring fair trade conditions through tariff reduction.

In the interview, Adams raised the challenge of California's stringent agricultural standards not receiving global recognition, leading to additional regulatory burdens. McKalip assured the industry of USTR's advocacy in international trade discussions, emphasizing the need to highlight the high standards and stewardship of California growers. 

The conversation shifted to the partnership between the Almond Board and USTR. Adams underscored the industry's commitment to research and fact-based information, with McKalip acknowledging the value of this input in trade negotiations.  

Ambassador McKalip explained the efforts being done by USTR to better establish one-on-one relationships with trade partners.

McKalip discussed recent successes, such as the reduction of retaliatory tariffs in India, and outlined strategic plans for continued engagement in Europe, China, Southeast Asia, and Africa. He assured ongoing support from USTR in promoting equitable trading atmospheres and market access for California almonds. 

In addressing economic challenges faced by almond growers, McKalip revealed USTR's multifaceted approach, including reductions in duties on imports of essential inputs like phosphorus fertilizer from Moracco and an initiative to promote more domestic fertilizer production. The interview concluded with both parties expressing a commitment to a sustainable and prosperous future for the almond industry. 

McKalip also dedicated time to tour the trade show at The Almond Conference 2023 that included over 350 companies serving the almond industry. Overall, McKalip’s visit demonstrated USTR's commitment to promoting almond trade globally, addressing challenges, and the value of the partnership which has been fostered between the Almond Board and USTR in pursuit of sustained growth in the almond industry. 

Listen to the full interview with Ambassador McKalip here

For more information on global and technical affairs, and ABC’s efforts to support a favorable trade and regulatory environment, listen to the Almond Byte episodes on the Almond Journey Podcast. Just search “Almond Journey” wherever you get your podcasts.