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Trump Trade Team Takes Shape; IDFA Supports Ross Confirmation

Mar 01, 2017
Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce

Late Monday night, the Senate voted 72 to 27 to confirm former investor Wilbur Ross to become the next Secretary of Commerce. Secretary Ross is expected to take the lead on President Donald Trump’s trade agenda, including a potential renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). During his confirmation hearings, Ross offered an optimistic stance toward open markets, saying, “I am pro-trade, but I am pro-sensible trade.”

As the head of the Department of Commerce, Ross also will oversee trade enforcement provisions, such as imposing antidumping and countervailing duties and the U.S.-Mexico suspension agreements for sugar imports. IDFA supported Ross’s nomination and remains committed to working with him and the Trump administration to ensure open and fair market access for U.S. dairy products within NAFTA and around the world.

Ross’s confirmation comes the same day as Trump’s appointment of Ray Starling, the former chief of staff to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), as special assistant to the president for agriculture, trade and food assistance. Starling will serve on the White House’s National Economic Council and will help shape agricultural trade policy for the administration.

Robert Lighthizer, who served as deputy U.S. Trade Representative under Ronald Reagan, is waiting to be confirmed as USTR. If he is confirmed, he will become the final key player on Trump’s trade team.

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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