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NPPC backs Siddiqui for USTR ag position

An ad hoc coalition of food and agricultural organisations, led by the National Pork Producers Council, has expressed its strong support for Isi Siddiqui as the chief agricultural trade negotiator in the Office of the US Trade Representative.

“We believe Dr. Siddiqui is an excellent nomination to fill the role of agricultural ambassador,” the 46 groups said in a letter to Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Finance Committee, which soon is expected to consider the nomination.

Siddiqui served for 28 years with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, where he attained the position of chief plant scientist. During the Clinton administration, he served in the US Department of Agriculture as deputy undersecretary and as undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs and as senior trade adviser to then-Sec. Dan Glickman. He also worked with USTR and represented USDA on bilateral, regional and multilateral agricultural trade negotiations.

“We urge you to act on Dr. Siddiqui's nomination as soon as possible,” the groups added. “To achieve progress on critical agricultural trade issues of concern … we believe it is critical to fill this key position without delay.

“Dr. Siddiqui's experience in trade negotiations as senior trade adviser to the Secretary of Agriculture will be critical to achieving US trade objectives for agriculture in the World Trade Organization Doha Round of negotiations and in other future trade agreements.”

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