[VIDEO] What to Expect on Trade

AFIA’s Gina Tumbarello takes a look at domestic trade under Biden

AFIA’s Gina Tumbarello examines what domestic trade policy might look like under the Biden Administration.

“Under Trump, there was unilateral pressure with China,” she notes. “We’re still in a trade war with them, including retaliatory tariffs, including pet food tariffs.”

During the Trump Administration, we saw movement away from multilateral agreements and toward bilateral, says Tumbarello.

The Trump Administration also pushed for a World Trade Organization overhaul and increased pressure on the European Union, which stopped seeing the U.S. as an ally and retaliatory tariffs were traded.

“Trump saw tariffs as a go-to in disputes and to exert power in the international arena,” she says.

Pet food Under Phase One with China

“A lot of opportunities came out of this agreement with China,” says Tumbarello. “Prior to Phase One, there was a ban on poultry products that impacted pet food.”

  • Market access for poultry products – signed regionalization protocol for HPAI and Newcastle disease
  • Ruminant-derived ingredients for pet food
  • New pet food facility regulation protocol – U.S. has better access to Chinese market

As a result of Phase One, pet food exports to China have soared.

“The increase in exports is astounding,” Tumbarello says. “Granted, we’re only talking about a $30 million market, but this could be just the beginning. As long as market is open and we can compete fairly. Rigth now, there still remains a high tariff at the moment.”

What Can We Expect Under a Biden Administration?

Tumbarello outlined the following:

  • Shift away from bilateral agreements – more toward regional multilateral agreements. May rejoin Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which is now called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Predictability – will be able to anticipate Biden Administration movement actions more easily in terms of policies and negotiations with trading partners
  • “Fix” relationships, including with European Union allies – Biden has pledged to prioritize these relationships
  • China – Biden pledged to bring together coalition of allies to address trade with China
  • Tariffs? Biden hasn’t committed to rescinding the various Trump-era tariffs yet. Some have said the use may continue to be a way to incentive partners toward change, but will be imposed in a different fashion
  • Trade deals will be used to increase labor and environmental standards
  • Renew Trade Promotion Authority which is set to expire in July. This gives President authority to negotiate trade deals.

China Looking Forward

Tumbarello notes again that Biden is unlikely to lift tariffs quickly. Pet food has an increased tariff and various other ag products still have tariff increases from the ongoing trade war.

“Biden will want to use tariffs to demand concessions similar to what Trump had,” she says.

These include:

  • Curbing subsidies to state-controlled enterprises
  • End forced transfer of technology
  • Opening digital services markets
  • Address IP theft

Noting military and human rights concerns, Tumbarello says the Biden administration will have greater focus on addressing these and tariffs may remain a mechanism for change in the short term.

Gina Tumbarello is the American Feed Industry Association’s director of international policy and trade. Tumbarello is responsible for leading the development of priority import and export issues for the feed industry globally. She serves as the industry advocate, addressing trade constraints and communicating the interests of the feed, feed ingredient and pet food industries to various government agencies.

Tumbarello is the staff contact for the AFIA International Trade Committee. In 2014, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack appointed Tumbarello to the Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee for Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds, where she represents AFIA and advises the secretary of agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on international issues relevant to the industry. Tumbarello holds a master’s degree in international policy studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in Monterey, CA, and a bachelor’s degree in diplomacy and foreign affairs and German from Miami University, Oxford, OH.