U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is taking time from meeting top foreign officials from around the globe to get to better know the U.S. ag sector and its trade priorities.

Tai met virtually this week with representatives of the farmers and ranchers who produce everything from apples to beef, but it’s just the beginning of the outreach. Talks will continue with more sectors of the ag community, according to a government official with knowledge of the discussions.

Tai spoke Monday to leaders of the National Potato Council, National Milk Producers Federation, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Northwest Horticultural Council. On Thursday, she met with leaders of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Iowa Corn Growers Association, and on Friday she spoke with Colin Woodall, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

This is “just the start of her outreach,” said the official, who added Tai is intent on “ramping up” her engagement with the U.S. ag sector that depends heavily on selling commodities in foreign markets.

There were plenty of back-and-forth conversations between Tai and ag sector officials at the meetings this week, the government official said. Tai went into detail about the Biden administration’s goals for strengthening international trade policy, “outlining her vision for trade policy and how she wants to work constructively with (the ag sector) to help grow the economy” and create more “reliable, transparent and sustainable market access” to overseas markets.

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The latest ag leader to meet virtually with Tai was NCBA’s Woodall, and much of the conversation on Friday focused on “agriculture’s contributions to meeting the administration’s sustainability and environmental goals” as well as “monitoring Chinese compliance with the structural commitments of the U.S.-China Economic and Trade Agreement,” the Office of the USTR said in a statement.

An industry official tells Agri-Pulse that NCBA stressed during the meeting that there is “growing demand for U.S. beef in Asian markets” and a need to expand access to those markets.

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