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ARLINGTON, Virginia — Today’s announcement that Vietnam’s government will eliminate a 3 percent U.S. wheat import tariff effective December 30, 2021, is welcome news to producers at home and their customers and wheat food processors in Vietnam.

As we reported in August 2021, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) appreciate the efforts by the Biden Administration, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance toward eliminating this tariff, which follows a reduction from 5 percent to 3 percent in July 2020.

Vietnam imported more than 500,000 metric tons of U.S. hard red spring, soft white, hard red winter, and soft red winter wheat valued at $129 million in marketing year 2020/21, second in volume only to Australia. Vietnam imports an average of about 4 million metric tons of wheat per year.

“U.S. wheat exports to Vietnam’s growing market are much slower so far this year because of short supplies and rising prices, so eliminating this tariff is very important for growers like me,” said Darren Padget, USW Chairman and a soft white wheat grower from Grass Valley, Ore.

“With about half of the wheat we produce available for export each year, we depend on increasing access to markets like Vietnam,” said Dave Milligan, NAWG President and a wheat grower from Cass City, Mich. “Here at home, NAWG will continue advocating for trade policies that work toward positive opportunities for wheat growers and their customers.”

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About USW

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

About NAWG

NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national level. From their offices on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) announces that Joe Bippert will join the export market development organization as Assistant Regional Director for South Asia on Nov. 1, 2021. Bippert will work remotely until he and his family can relocate to USW’s office in Manila, Philippines. Bippert has served as Program Director with the Washington Grain Commission (WGC), Spokane, Wash., since January 2017.

“I am grateful for the time I have spent at the Washington Grain Commission representing the state’s wheat and barley producers, and the exposure to markets in South Asia,” Bippert said. “Now I look forward to expanding my service to every wheat producer in the United States as I begin my role at U.S. Wheat Associates.”

Joe Bippert

Joe Bippert will join U.S. Wheat Associates Nov. 1, 2021, as Assistant Regional Director, South Asia, and will relocate to Manila, Philippines, when pandemic travel rules allow.

“Having worked with Joe during his time with the Washington Grain Commission, we knew he was the right person with the proper skill set, personality and knowledge of the wheat industry to fill this position,” said USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Mike Spier. “He will have an experienced and successful manager in Joe Sowers, our Regional Vice President for South Asia, and excellent technical support to help him build the already strong demand for several U.S. wheat classes in the Philippines and the rest of the region.”

Joe Bippert grew up on a family timber farm near Olympia, Wash., and learned Spanish in Mexico while serving a church mission. After earning a Business degree from Brigham Young University in 2008, he began his career in international trade and marketing with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). His focus was helping producer groups develop and implement international marketing strategies and included management of agricultural delegations on two governor-led international trade missions. With the WGC, Bippert manages Latin American marketing strategy, analyzes the state’s wheat industry economy and monitors trade and transportation policy. He currently co-chairs USW’s Wheat Transportation Working Group. Bippert, his wife Corinne and their sons Jack, Max and Luke currently call Spokane, Wash., home.

Major wheat markets in USW’s South Asian region include Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. U.S. wheat regional sales there of about 6.4 million metric tons, or about 235 million bushels, of hard red spring, soft white, hard red winter and some soft red winter wheat represented the largest regional sales volume and about 25% of total U.S. commercial wheat sales in marketing year 2020/21.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is grateful to the Biden Administration and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) for their work alongside Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance to reduce the cost of wheat for Vietnam’s millers and consumers by suspending the wheat import tariff. As part of a bilateral package announced during Vice President Kamala Harris’ Indo-Pacific trip, Vietnam will reduce or eliminate import tariffs on several U.S. commodities including wheat. The tariff suspensions are expected to be implemented soon and will help reduce food costs for the Vietnamese people. It will also help make U.S. wheat more competitive in Vietnam’s growing wheat market.

Vietnam, like many countries this year, has seen significant food and feed price inflation due to the rise in global commodity prices and COVID impacts on supply chains. Vietnam’s government should be commended for taking this proactive step to assist their domestic millers and consumers.

The newly announced reduction follows one from July 2020, when Vietnam reduced its tariff on imported U.S. wheat (excluding durum) from 5% to 3% in a revision of its Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rates.  Vietnam is the last remaining Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) country applying a tariff against U.S. wheat imports but not against Canadian and Australian wheat, making today’s announcement particularly noteworthy for U.S. wheat growers.

Illustrating a trade agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam.Despite the tariffs, Vietnam’s imports of U.S. hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat exceeded 500,000 metric tons in marketing year 2020/21, second in volume only to Australia. Vietnam currently imports an average of more than 3 million metric tons of wheat per year.

The suspension of the wheat import tariff was granted because of the dedicated work between USDA/FAS, cooperator organizations and the Vietnamese importers who petitioned their government to reduce or eliminate certain MFN tariffs to help hold down rising food and feed prices.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is happy to announce that Tyllor Ledford joined its staff as Assistant Director of the West Coast Office in Portland, Ore., on August 16, 2021. Ledford will fill the role left by Michael Anderson, who was promoted to Market Analyst earlier this year.

“I am very excited to welcome Tyllor to U.S. Wheat Associates. She brings essential skills developed during her time at Texas Tech University and has the people skills that will be important in her role as liaison between wheat farmers and overseas customers,” said Steve Wirsching, USW Vice President and West Coast Director. “She knows how to relate to wheat farmers and understands the challenges they face. She will be directly involved in planning and hosting overseas wheat buyers and highlighting the advantages of the U.S. supply chain.”

As USW looks forward to when it can again welcome overseas trade delegations to the United States to visit the wheat supply chain in the Pacific Northwest, Ledford’s responsibilities will include assisting in both in-person and continued online programs and trade service activities for overseas customers. She will also assist in outreach to state wheat commissions and the grain trade and a range of assignments supporting USW’s export market development activities on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers.

Tyllor Ledford

Tyllor Ledford.

Ledford joins USW after recently completing a master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in the same concentration. As a part of her master’s program, Ledford’s research focused on the relationship between food security and conflict patterns in Africa. She has also gained valuable experience as a Texas Tech graduate research assistant, interning with Colorado State University Extension and through agribusiness academic immersion programs in China and Spain. Ledford is a native of Colorado, where she grew up on her family’s quarter horse ranch.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – Each year farmers across the United States grow enough wheat to fill America’s tables and still have about half their crop to share with the world. To help promote all six classes of American wheat overseas, 17 state wheat commissions provide funding from checkoff programs to U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). Each commission appoints farmers to serve on the U.S. Wheat Associates Board of Directors.

In late June, they traveled to America’s Music City for their summer meeting. Over three days in Nashville, Tenn., the U.S. Wheat Associates Board of Directors met in committee and together to discuss topics like wheat grading standards for hard white wheat, wheat quality improvement and USW’s next budget. USW President Vince Peterson said the decision to hold the annual event in person added a positive lift to the meeting.

“Well, for us, it was a breath of fresh air,” Peterson said. “We’ve had four meetings now during the COVID environment. The first one, a year ago from today, was fully virtual. We went to two hybrid meetings where we had some in-person and some virtual portions, and this was the first back to fully in-person. I think it was a great venue, a great place. I think we rekindled some of that comradery that the industry really thrives on and needs. I think it was a highly successful get-together.”

USW Board of Directors Officers

USW President Vince Peterson, left, makes a point at the USW 2021 Summer Board of Directors meeting in Nashville, Tenn. He is joined by Vice Chair Rhonda Larson of Minnesota and Secretary-Treasurer Michael Peters of Oklahoma.

USW Director Cory Kress, a farmer from southeast Idaho and member of the Idaho Wheat Commission discussed the importance of USW’s effort to build demand for U.S. wheat overseas and how crucial it is to the sustainability of his farm.

“In America, we often forget how blessed we are to produce way more food than we need to feed our own citizens in this country. What that means as a wheat farmer is a good portion of my crop has to end up on somebody else’s dinner table in another country.” Kress said. “I don’t think that’s possible without USW and our partnerships with the various government agencies to promote our products and to ensure they compete with other countries’ products, to make sure that we have a place on their food menu. It’s imperative for the sustainability of my farm that we export a lot of what we produce. Otherwise, we just have no market, no hope to continue on this. It can’t be emphasized enough how important it is that we promote our ag products overseas.”

Idaho farmer Cory Kress at the USW Board of Directors meeting.

Idaho farmer Cory Kress represents the Idaho Wheat Commission as a USW Director.

These wheat industry leaders also monitor and discuss trade policies that have the potential to build or block market access. Neal Fisher, Executive Director of the North Dakota Wheat Commission in Bismarck, N.D., discussed the importance these conversations have on the meeting.

We’ve seen the settlement of the Airbus-Boeing dispute, for example, which goes right into our wheelhouse in spring wheat, but it’s good for all wheat farmers as well because we have some strong demand there in the UK and the European Union and in Italy and Spain, for example” Fisher said. “But without that, that would shrink away pretty fast. We’re looking for other market access as well as we look forward to the year and the years to come.”

Neal Fisher, Executive Director, North Dakota Wheat Commission at the USW Board of Directors meeting

Neal Fisher, Executive Director, North Dakota Wheat Commission.

The USW Board of Directors plan to meet again in Kansas City, Missouri, this November.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has promoted Erica Oakley to Vice President of Programs. Oakley joined USW in 2015 as Program Manager and was promoted to Director of Programs in 2017.

Oakley’s promotion signals a structure change in USW’s Headquarters Office, splitting the previous Program and Planning department. Previously serving the organization as Vice President of Programs and Planning, Jennifer Sydney will shift titles to Vice President of Planning. In this role, Sydney will continue leading USW’s annual planning process and manage all facets of its intersection with federal programs, finance, and overseas office operations.

Oakley will oversee all domestic components of USW programs in support of overseas offices in her new role, including export market development activities, consulting assignments, customer trade teams, USW director delegations, and customer conferences. Oakley will also continue leading the development of USW’s annual Crop Quality Report and seminars.

“It is important as an organization to adapt based on the needs of its customers and stakeholders and how the skills and commitment of its employees can best serve its mission,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Erica has been an exceptional asset to the organization, especially through all of the challenges and changes we faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are confident this change is in the best interest of USW’s mission and look forward to both Erica and Jennifer’s continued leadership.”

Portrait of Erica Oakley

Erica Oakley.

Before joining USW, Oakley worked as an Associate at Humanitas Global, Washington, D.C. She also worked as a Program Associate at the Academy for Educational Development, now FHI 360, supporting a USAID Title II-funded Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance project to strengthen food security and nutrition policies, programs and systems. Before that, Oakley was a Project Associate at Washington-based Futures Group. A native of North Carolina, Oakley earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies at Meredith College, Raleigh, N.C., and a master’s degree in international relations from Utrecht University in The Netherlands.

Reporting to Oakley will be Catherine Miller, whose title will shift from Programs and Planning Coordinator to Program Coordinator with additional responsibilities. Also reporting to Oakley will be Program Coordinator Maybelis Fernandez who coordinates program travel arrangements.

Reporting to Sydney will be Nada Obaid, whose title will shift from Office Manager to Planning and Administrative Assistant. She will assume more responsibility in the day-to-day planning operations and continue administrative office management.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome the announcement that the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States agreed to a five-year moratorium on retaliatory tariffs for large civil aircraft subsidies. This break suspends the retaliatory tariffs levied on non-durum U.S. wheat imports by the UK. The agreement is similar to one struck earlier this week between the United States and the European Union (EU). This long-running dispute at the World Trade Organization allowed the UK and EU the right to impose tariffs on non-durum U.S. wheat imports, which mainly impacted U.S. hard red spring and some hard red winter wheat.

“The wheat industry is thankful for President Biden and Ambassador Tai’s commitment to prioritize the trade relationships between the United States, European Union, and now the United Kingdom,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “The five-year truce announced on Tuesday with the EU and yesterday with the UK removes a significant trade barrier on wheat exports and provides long-term certainty for wheat growers in the upper Midwest.”

USW President Vince Peterson noted that this agreement provides the basis for an open dialogue on trade that hopefully will also pre-empt the use of retaliatory tariffs in the still unresolved steel and aluminum dispute between the United States and the UK.

About U.S. Wheat Associates
U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

About the National Association of Wheat Growers
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national level. NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) congratulate the Biden Administration and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai for resolving the long-running World Trade Organization dispute over aircraft subsidies and suspending retaliatory tariffs that were a barrier to U.S. wheat exports to the European Union.

Under the aircraft dispute, the EU placed retaliatory tariffs on non-durum U.S. wheat, which effectively blocked average annual imports of more than 538,000 metric tons of mainly U.S. hard red spring and some hard red winter wheat. Three months ago, the United States and the EU agreed to temporarily suspend all retaliatory tariffs and imports resumed almost immediately.

The agreement announced this week suspends the retaliatory tariffs for five years, pending how negotiations on aircraft subsidies go. That is welcome news for wheat farm families in the Northern and Central Plains.

For more information, visit the USW website.

About U.S. Wheat Associates
U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

About the National Association of Wheat Growers
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national level. NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has promoted Michael Anderson to Market Analyst. Anderson has served as USW Assistant Director, West Coast Office in Portland, Ore., since July 2018. 

As Market Analyst, Anderson will monitor and report on global wheat market supply and demand, trade and U.S. wheat export prices among other responsibilities.

“Michael has done a very good job working as a host for overseas trade delegations and supporting our 13 overseas offices in his West Coast Office position,” said USW Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer. “As Market Analyst, he will provide a different but no less important trade service reporting market information that adds value to U.S. wheat export market development.”

Portrait of Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson

Anderson grew up in Texas and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Baylor University and a master’s degree in International Agriculture from Oklahoma State University. After graduating from Baylor, Anderson joined the Peace Corps where he served as a health volunteer in Armenia. Following that overseas experience, he worked with The Carter Center in Central Africa as a technical advisor for the Guinea Worm Eradication Program with the South Sudan Ministry of Health. Anderson served as a trade intern with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington D.C., where he became interested in international trade policy. Before joining USW, Anderson was International Marketing Program Coordinator for Food Export Association of the Northeast, which like USW is a member of the public-private partnership with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) export market development programs. He speaks French and his hobbies include travel and softball.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Katherine Tai today as the next U.S. Trade Representative. During the confirmation hearing process, Tai said she understands the values and rules that guide global commerce and the importance of enforcing those terms “vigorously.”

Most encouraging is Tai’s past work as a chief enforcer against China’s unfair trade practices under the Obama Administration and involvement in final negotiations for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Tai addressed these topics during her confirmation process.

“I know firsthand how critically important it is that we have a strategic and coherent plan for holding China accountable to its promises and effectively competing with its model of state-directed economics,” said Tai. “I know the opportunities and limitations in our existing toolbox.”

“Tai’s confirmation comes at a crucial time for U.S. wheat trade,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “After seeing early, encouraging returns on the Phase One agreement with China, we are looking ahead as the WTO moves to the compliance phase of the 2019 dispute case won by the United States against China’s unfair administration of their grain tariff rate quotas. U.S. wheat farmers will also want Tai to hold China to the additional enforcement language in the Phase One agreement.”

“We appreciate the bipartisan support from the Senate in confirming Ms. Katherine Tai to this important position,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Fair and clear access to international markets is crucial for U.S. wheat farmers, and we look forward to working with her and her team on taking an aggressive stance on prioritizing agricultural trade efforts.”

About U.S. Wheat Associates
U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

About the National Association of Wheat Growers
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national level. NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.

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