Wyden: Biden withdraws Trevino nomination for USTR ag post

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Tuesday announced that President Biden had withdrawn his nomination of Elaine Trevino to be the chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The position requires Senate confirmation, but the Senate Finance Committee had not granted Trevino a hearing even though she was nominated six months ago.

Trevino is the former CEO of the California Almond Alliance.

Wyden said Trevino had an appointment within the Biden administration, but the Agriculture Department said it could not confirm anything about Trevino’s situation. Politico reported that Trevino sent Biden a letter in which she wrote, “it now seems clear that there is no timely path forward to gain Senate confirmation” and that she was “excited to join the administration in another capacity” working on agricultural supply chain issues.

“I’m glad to see Ms. Trevino will be serving the American people in an appointed post within the Biden administration, where she will be well-positioned to press the case for American farmers,” Wyden said. “I urge the White House to quickly announce a new nominee for chief agricultural negotiator to advocate for red-white-and-blue farm goods in global negotiations. Farmers in Oregon and across the United States grow food the rest of the world wants. They need someone representing them at global negotiations as soon as possible.”

The failure of the Trevino nomination is a setback for the Biden administration, which has also failed to name an Agriculture undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said that two highly qualified candidates for the USDA trade position said they were not interested in the job because the White House had insisted they sell their business interests. Vilsack said he understands the high ethical standards of the administration following problems that occurred in the Trump administration, but that he is “frustrated” at the difficulties in finding candidates to serve.


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