WASHINGTON – The American Meat Institute, along with 85 other organizations, is calling for President Obama to reconsider merging the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) with five other agencies.

President Obama is proposing to merge the US Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the USTR, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and the US Trade and Development Agency. In a letter signed by enterprises of varying sizes and representing a wide segment of the business and agricultural communities, the coalition outlined their concerns about the agency merger into a single cabinet-level department. The letter states:

“USTR’s unique and important role stems in substantial part from its position within the Executive Office of the President, lending it credibility with foreign trading partners, Congress, other US government entities and private stakeholders. Most developed economies have a direct counterpart to the USTR that reports to the head of government, which lends the position enormous credibility. Subsuming USTR into a broader trade and business government department will severely harm that credibility and USTR’s ability to play its unique coordinating role within the U.S. government. As a result, we believe that such a move will weaken the ability of USTR and the United States to pursue effectively a strong trade policy that is responsive to Congress, business and other stakeholders and meets our country’s important objectives, including achieving the Administration’s important goal of doubling exports."