During his first State of The Union address on Tuesday, President Trump discussed trade. Still, some farmers felt like he didn’t say enough about free trade, specifically the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“The era of economic surrender is totally over,” Trump said Tuesday night. “From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and very importantly, reciprocal. We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones and they'll be good ones. But they'll be fair, and we will protect American workers and American intellectual property through strong enforcement of our trade rules.”
AgriTalk Radio host Chip Flory hosted a special episode of the show to give farmers an opportunity to discuss the State of The Union. Here’s what three farmers thought of the president’s comments on free trade:
“I'm concerned his words sound good. You know they sound good, but I think we're in for some rough waters as we continue to push for enforcement. It sounds good, but there's always a price to pay by somebody when you go down these paths. And he was a really light on specifics and he didn't mention NAFTA. I do have great concerns there. I think it's a [Commerce Secretary] Wilbur Ross thing as much as it's a Trump thing on NAFTA. I think we have to get through Wilbur to get to Trump on NAFTA.” - Tim Burrack, Iowa
“I've said all along, since this whole deal started during the campaign, that trade agreements need to be fair. I think agriculture, especially on trade with Mexico, we are the winners there. So you know, putting the fair and reasonable in there gives me some hope. You know, I'm with Tim though, a lot of concern. We've got a lot at stake here. But as you brought out on your show, After the Bell, there's a lot of guys saying if you look at the whole world supply system, it's a zero sum game when you get down to it and there's only so much to go around. But we've got to keep our good deals in place and keep our foot in the door even though it'll probably still work out.” - Ken McCauley, Kansas
“We [in California] export a lot of products to Mexico and Canada. Our own farm exports cantaloupes to Canada and Mexico, and there's a lot of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and probably even meat that goes to those countries from California. So we're concerned about restrictions on free trade. I think most farmers in the U.S. do well in free trade and for most of us I think that's fair trade.” - Joe Del Bosque, California