Draft Paper – Not to be cited without author’s permission
Box 3. Who Negotiates Agricultural Trade?
It is interesting to ask who negotiates all agriculture trade agreements and policies on behalf of the U.S. government, in venues like the WTO, NAFTA and FTAA. Ambassador Allen Johnson is the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the USTR, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. As such, he is charged with developing and putting forth the official positions of the U.S. government on agricultural issues in all trade negotiations. Yet his background prior to joining the USTR raises the question of whether he in fact is another case of the “revolving door” between industry and government. 63
Prior to joining the USTR, Ambassador Johnson served as the President, and before that, as the Executive Vice President, of the National Oilseed Processors Association, NOPA. According to NOPA’s web site, 64 it is an organization "…representing the U.S. soybean, sunflower, canola, flaxseed and safflower seed crushing industries… and is pro-actively engaged in issues such as international trade policy.. [and] domestic farm programs..."
NOPA has only 13 “regular members.”
Among them are Archer Daniels Midland
Perdue, and Cargill. Among the 20 & Gamble, Purina, Tyson Foods and
Virtually every major grain trading transnational is represented, as are some of biggest and most important food processing and factory farming corporations in world. This certainly gives the appearance that it is these industries who are in driver’s seat on American trade policy for agriculture, and via American negotiators, these issues worldwide.
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