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Trump pulls rug out from TPP; threatens NAFTA action

President Trump upholds his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership; threatens action on the North American Free Trade Agreement.


January 23, 2017

3 Min Read
Trump pulls rug out from TPP; threatens NAFTA action
U.S. President Donald Trump shows the Executive Order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House on Jan. 23.Getty Images/Ron Sachs

President Donald Trump wasted little time in following through on a campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as he signed an executive order Monday morning.

National Pork Producers Council has backed TPP, a partnership that included Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in addition to the United States. The 11 other Pacific Rim countries have nearly half a billion mostly affluent consumers and represent about 40% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product. The TPP would have eliminated tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork exports, strengthen trade rules and provide specific new market access commitments for U.S. agricultural exports to all 11 TPP partner countries.

NPPC President, John Weber, had said: “Without the TPP, U.S. pork exports to the Asia-Pacific region will be at a serious competitive disadvantage. Competitor countries will leap at the opportunity to fill the void if the United States rejects the agreement.”

NPPC did not comment on today’s executive order.

According to The Hill, Trump says “We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” adding that leaving the 12-nation pact is a “great thing for the American worker.”

Politico says “Withdrawing from the deal will be welcome news to progressive Democrats and labor groups, some of whom Trump is scheduled to meet with at the White House today. It is likely to anger the other 11 nations involved as well as more mainstream Republicans and economists, some of whom hoped Trump would simply leave the deal alone for a few years — leaving the door open for him or another president to pick it up later.”

American Farm Bureau Federation also backed the trade deal, saying “While legally TPP would only go into full effect if the United States ratifies the agreement, other countries will move forward with their trade capabilities regardless of whether or not the United States decides to ratify the agreement. U.S. failure to enact TPP will not see our trade situation stay the same, but will lead to declining net exports and market share in important markets.”

In addition to concern over Trump’s action on TPP, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is equally concerned about the president’s statement of taking action on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

NCBA’s President Tracy Brunner says, “TPP and NAFTA have long been convenient political punching bags, but the reality is that foreign trade has been one of the greatest success stories in the long history of the U.S. beef industry.”

Brunner says statistics show that U.S. cattle producers are losing out on $400,000 in sales every day without TPP, and since NAFTA was implemented, exports of American-produced beef to Mexico have grown by more than 750%.

“Sparking a trade war with Canada, Mexico and Asia will only lead to higher prices for American-produced beef in those markets and put our American producers at a much steeper competitive disadvantage,” Brunner says. “The fact remains that 96% of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and expanding access to those consumers is the single best thing we can do to help American cattle-producing families be more successful.”

Livestock producers aren’t the only ones uneasy about Trump’s trade stance. According to CNN, “Republican leaders worried about President Donald Trump’s trade agenda are warning him not to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying it could drastically undercut American businesses throughout the country.”

In the CNN report, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees trade laws, issued this blunt warning: “I think we ought to stay in NAFTA. That doesn’t mean we can’t make better agreements than we have. But I think we ought to do our best to uphold those international trade agreements.”

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senior content specialist, National Hog Farmer

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