President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-national trade agreement negotiated by the Obama administration.
The White House website says Trump’s trade strategy begins with withdrawing from TPP and making certain any new trade deals are in the best interests of American workers.
The TPP included the U.S. and 11 other countries — Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Vietnam, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.
Trump also committed to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. If partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers “a fair deal,” Trump said he will give notice of intent to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement that his organization viewed TPP as a positive agreement for agriculture. It would have added $4.4 billion annually to a struggling agriculture economy, Duvall said.
“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,” Duvall stated.
The farm bureau pledged to work with Trump’s administration to ensure that American agriculture can compete in the global marketplace.
“American agriculture is virtually always a winner when trade agreements remove barriers to U.S. crop and livestock exports because we impose very few compared to other nations,” Duvall stated. “We need the administration’s commitment to ensuring we do not lose the ground gained — whether in the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe or other parts of the world.”
Any renegotiation of NAFTA must assure that U.S. agriculture trade with Canada and Mexico remains strong, Duvall said.
The U.S. wheat industry supported the TPP, saying it would have provided a level playing field for U.S. growers and reduced tariffs imposed on U.S. wheat.
“Obviously, we’re supportive of trade,” said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission. Roughly 85 to 90 percent of wheat produced in Washington is exported. “Moving forward, we’re still going to be supportive of trade.”
Even without TPP, the wheat industry has traded with other countries, Squires said.
“If it’s not there, we still have to try to compete the best we can in all markets,” he said. “We’ll have to see what’s put forth.”
Tracy Brunner, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, criticized the withdrawal.
“Fact is, American cattle producers are already losing out on $400,000 in sales every day because we don’t have TPP, and since NAFTA was implemented, exports of American-produced beef to Mexico have grown by more than 750 percent,” Brunner said in a prepared statement. “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.”
R-CALF USA, an independent ranchers’ group, applauded Trump’s order, saying TPP would have put U.S. livestock producers at a disadvantage.
“It’s really a huge relief that now the president of the United States is saying exactly what we’ve been saying for 20 years,” said Bill Bullard, CEO of the organization. “This pursuit of this free trade theory has been an utter failure, damaging to U.S. livestock industries and the United States as a whole. It’s a huge relief to see someone who is approaching this from a very practical and pragmatic standpoint, instead of from an ideological angle.”