The Senate yesterday confirmed Gregg Doud to be the next chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).  Doud will be key to the agency as it renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Doud, who is from Kansas,  has served in a number of capacities related to domestic and international trade policy.  Previously he worked at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Wheat Associates, Commodity Markets Council and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

The Senate also approved yesterday Dennis Shea to be USTR’s top official at the World Trade Organization in Geneva and C.J. Mahoney to be the deputy USTR responsible for trade in Africa, China, and the Western Hemisphere.

This action comes after months of waiting for the confirmation after many delays.  The Senate finance panel cleared Doud unanimously in October.  However his nomination was held up as Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) put a hold on Doud’s nomination last November.  Flake released his hold a month ago after receiving assurances that Flake’s concerns would be addressed over a proposal involving U.S. import protections on seasonal produce in the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Still, the Senate continued to stall the nomination.

“Gregg Doud’s vast experience in the agriculture sector will serve him well as he works to expand export opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers. C.J. Mahoney has extensive experience in investment and will play a critical role in helping to negotiate free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals, including existing agreements for NAFTA.  Dennis Shea will be a steadfast representative of U.S. priorities at the World Trade Organization, building agreements with like-minded members and holding our trading partners accountable,”  said U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer.