President Trump has often been called the “master negotiator” and while there’s clear evidence he’s good at negotiating, whether or not he can close a deal remains in question. Friday, the U.S. is expected to release the text of a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Mexico. That agreement is the result of months of discussion to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, except Canada won’t be included.
According to AgriTalk host Chip Flory, at this point farmers are looking for progress on agreements and the president’s ability to close a deal.
“I saw some comments on Twitter earlier this week saying maybe he is the master negotiator, talking about President Trump, but he hasn't shown the ability to be a master closer when it comes to these trade agreements,” Flory said.
The president’s ability to successfully finish deals with Japan and South Korea is giving farmers hope that further progress on NAFTA and even trade tensions with China are on the horizon.
“I've been pretty optimistic,” said Ken McCauley a farmer from Kansas. “Maybe too optimistic, but you don't have a choice in these things, so I’m continuing to be optimistic. But you're right, the closing part of this is the important part.”
According to RealAgriculture’s Sean Haney, there’s a common thread between the revamped KORUS agreement, and NAFTA negotiations.
“South Korea still has to approve the revamped KORUS agreement and South Korea is saying similar things to Mexico, Canada, and the EU. They will not agree to this free trade deal until the U.S. guarantees them exemption from the section 232 steel aluminum tariffs,” he said. “So this is the section 232 is continuing to be held as this sort of ace in the back pockets or maybe up the sleeves so to speak, just in case these trade deficits don't necessarily go the way the White House is looking for.”
According to Pro Farmer policy analyst, Jim Wiesemeyer, Trump should have finished one agreement before moving to the next.
“What most people think he should have done is as you got the EU agreement later, rather than sooner, and as you continue to deal with Mexico and Canada, they should have been, you know, put off the table,” he says. “But that's not the case. Trump 101 is to use it as a sledgehammer. Whatever you want to call this skirmish or war with China, if Trump were to announce auto tariffs on a number of countries, anyone not calling that a war is beside the point.”