Biden to nominate Trevino as chief agricultural negotiator

The White House announced Monday that President Biden intends to nominate Elaine Trevino as the chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Trevino is the president of the Almond Alliance of California, a member-based trade association that advocates on regulatory and legislative issues in areas of international trade, food safety, water quality and availability, crop protection, air quality, worker safety, supply chain and feed quality.

“As the leader of an organization that advocates for California’s leading agricultural export, Elaine understands tariff and nontariff barriers to trade and the importance of maintaining America’s strong trade agreements and global positioning,” the White House said in the announcement.

“Elaine has worked on advocating for funding for COVID-19 relief, addressing retaliatory tariffs, climate smart farming, public private partnerships for opening new markets and strengthening existing markets and addressing technical sanitary and phytosanitary barriers. Elaine works at the local and federal levels on addressing port congestion, supply chain disruptions and excessive costs.”

Trevino served as a deputy secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat. She was responsible for the oversight of the international export and trade programs, specialty crop block grant funding, division of marketing services, plant health and pest prevention and the statewide county fair network.

Trevino serves on the Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee.

Born and raised in the Central Valley of California, she received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government. She and her family reside in Sacramento.

The nomination, which carries the rank of ambassador and requires Senate confirmation, will go to the Senate Finance Committee.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Monday praised the nomination.

“Elaine Trevino understands the importance of America’s farmers and farming communities to the vitality of our economy,” Tai said.

“Her experience will help the Biden-Harris administration craft durable trade policy that creates broad-based prosperity.

“Throughout her impressive career serving in leadership positions at the state and federal level, Elaine has developed strong relationships with key stakeholders and demonstrated a keen understanding of trade and agriculture policy.

“If confirmed as chief agriculture negotiator, Elaine would be the first woman of color and the first Latina in this critical position that will help USTR advance President Biden’s vision to increase American competitiveness and Build Back Better. I hope the U.S. Senate can quickly confirm her to fill this important role so she can get to work on behalf of the American people.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a news release, “AFBF is encouraged by President Biden’s nomination of Elaine Trevino as chief agricultural trade negotiator.”

“Her strong roots in agriculture and her experience in America’s largest exporting state have prepared her for the challenges of representing the nation on trade issues.

“Opportunities to create new trade agreements with the European Union and Great Britain as well as expanding the China Phase 1 agreement make filling this position with the most qualified person extremely important,” Duvall said. “We look forward to working with Ms. Trevino to help ensure a level playing field and to create new avenues for farmers and ranchers to feed the world.”


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