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spider web Getty Images/Oli Scarff

Trump’s tariffs disrupt trade web

Trading partnerships are solidified through years of building relationships, relationships that can be quickly wiped out with an executive decision.

Candidate Donald Trump’s campaign slogan was to “Make America Great Again.” He has taken some measures to do just that, but now his slogan appears to be “Make American Farmers Irate Again.”

Career politicians have ruled this country far too long, and the Donald Trump presidency has brought a new look to the oval office, because he is not a politician, he is a businessman. America does need to be run more like a business, and Trump is trying to do this.

Some will argue that he is not a good businessman, and American farmers are starting to believe that. From Day 1 of his presidency, heck even before he took office, Trump stressed that no current trade deal was perfect and none would be left untouched.

First, he pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, then he prompted the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, now he is imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from many countries. The latest to be added to the tariff list are Canada, Mexico and the European Union, because he didn’t feel trade talks were progressing fast enough.

It long has been argued that agriculture is the first industry to be hit in retaliation when trade wars begin, and that appears to be the case as Canada and Mexico have each announced retaliatory tariffs to be placed on exported American ag products.

Apparently, these are costs associated with President Trump doing business on a global basis. The strength of any good business deal is the partnership that is formed between the parties involved, and that partnership takes years to develop and even longer to maintain. The years of building these partnerships and relationships can be ruined in a manner of minutes with the announcement of tariffs.

I liken this to the work of a spider who intricately builds a web in the corner of your barn door. This tiny creature toils for about an hour to build a thing of beauty and strength. An hour does not seem like a long time, but think of it from the spider’s perspective — one hour is a mighty long time. All that work can quickly be dashed with one swipe of a hand or a broom.

It appears American farmers are destined to see this played out in the barn door of the global marketplace. One quick swipe of President Trump’s hand has the potential to wipe out the intricate web of partnerships and relationships U.S. agriculture, and more precisely the U.S. pork industry have built.

Going back to the spider, unless you knock out the spider when you clear the web, that spider is not deterred. He/she goes right back to work and builds a web that is even more elaborate or intricate than the one before.

That is what American agriculture, and the U.S. pork industry, has to do: dust ourselves off, and start rebuilding that web of partnerships and relationships so as not to lose the marketing momentum that we have gained globally.

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