President Trump on Monday signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.
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The America Soybean Association and American Farm Bureau Federation were quick to emphasize the importance of trade to American agriculture.
"Trade is something soybean farmers take very seriously," said ASA president Ron Moore, who farms in Roseville, Illinois. "We export more than half the soy we grow here in the United States, and still more in the form of meat and other products that are produced with our meal and oil. The TPP held great promise for us, and has been a key priority for several years now. We're very disappointed to see the withdrawal today."
“While President Trump signed an executive order today withdrawing our nation from the Trans- Pacific Partnership, we viewed TPP as a positive agreement for agriculture – one that would have added $4.4 billion annually to our struggling agriculture economy," said AFBF president Zippy Duvall. "With this decision, it is critical that the new administration begin work immediately to do all it can to develop new markets for U.S. agricultural goods and to protect and advance U.S. agricultural interests in the critical Asia-Pacific region."
The TPP represents 40% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP), and according to the Peterson Institute, would have increased overall U.S. exports by $357 billion by 2030. Additionally, TPP was the first regional trade agreement to address the need to coordinate international policy on trade in the products of agricultural biotechnology.
"Moving forward, we expect to see a plan in place as soon as possible to engage the TPP partner nations and capture the value that we lose with the withdrawal today," Moore said. "With net farm income down by over 40% from levels just a few years ago, we need trade deals with the Asia-Pacific countries to make up for the $4.4 billion in annual net farm income being lost by farmers from not moving forward with the TPP. Also, we expect a seat at the table to help ensure these agreements in whatever form they take are crafted to capture their full value for soybean farmers. Trade is too important for us to support anything less."
"We have much to gain through strong trade agreements," Duvall said, adding that provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada have been beneficial for U.S. agriculture. Trump has pledged to renegotiate NAFTA.
"U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to over $38 billion today, due in large part to NAFTA," Duvall said. "Any renegotiation of NAFTA must recognize the gains achieved by American agriculture and assure that U.S. ag trade with Canada and Mexico remains strong."