Senate panel sets hearing for agriculture trade negotiator nominee

(Reuters) - The Republican-led Senate Finance Committee on Thursday set an Oct. 5 confirmation hearing for Gregory Doud, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the top agricultural negotiator job at the U.S. Trade Representative.

If approved by the panel and confirmed by the full Senate, Doud would become Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the agency - a position that the U.S. farm sector has criticized Congress and the White House for leaving empty amid the current negotiations on modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Doud, who would be given the rank of Ambassador with the agency, is president of the Commodity Markets Council, the trade association for commodity futures exchanges. Previously, the Kansas farmer worked as a senior aide to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee and spent eight years as the chief economist at the trade group National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Doud was nominated by the White House in June. The following month, dozens of food and agriculture trade associations and companies sent letters to committee members, urging them to confirm Doud as the administration and Congress pushed to begin work on NAFTA.

Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio