Farmers to Trump: No NAFTA, No Re-Election

January 24, 2018 02:16 PM
Farmers on AgriTalk warned President Trump that if he pulls out of NAFTA, he might not see re-election.

As expected, trade was a hot topic during AgriTalk’s “Farmer Forum” hosted by Chip Flory and recorded live Wednesday at the 2018 Top Producer Seminar. When it comes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), farmers on the show warned President Trump that if he pulls out of the trade deal, he might not see re-election.

On Tuesday, President Trump said NAFTA renegotiations are moving along “well.” Then he added, “I happen to be of the opinion that if it doesn’t work out we’ll terminate it.”

Farmers, lawmakers and industry stakeholders across the country were less than impressed with the president’s latest comments. They surfaced just as the 11 countries still involved in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) announced they have struck a deal, and as Round 6 of NAFTA negotiations kicked off in Canada.

“Republicans are supposed to be free traders and Trump got elected by the farmers in the United States,” said Frank Howey, a farmer from North Carolina. “If he does us wrong on trade, he will not get re-elected.”

Top Republican senators are looking into their options of overriding a Trump withdrawal from NAFTA, according to Jim Wiesemeyer, ProFarmer’s policy analyst.  

“That's how far this has gotten, where you've got a Republican controlled Senate, a Republican in the White House and if the Republican president [withdrawals], the Republican Senate is thinking of over overriding it if they can,” Flory said.

Iowa farmer Ted Hamer said President Trump is not a Republican.

“It's the party of Trump there's no doubt about that,” he said adding that he voted for Trump. “It goes back to what Frank said, he will not get reelected if he's hostile to farming.”

There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, said Wisconsin farmer Jeremey Pavelski. He said that while there are a lot of criticisms of the president and while he’s done several things Pavelski doesn’t agree with, President Trump is a change agent.

“I mean you take a look at it, we've been talking about tax reform for so long and that actually ended up happening,” Pavelski said. “So although he's got some very unconventional ways, some things actually should be worked out.”

A new study from Farmers For Free Trade outlines how much a NAFTA withdrawal would cost farmers and the entire economy. It won’t be cheap. Without NAFTA, cheese would face a tariff up to 45%. Using 2016 cheese exports to Mexico totaling $170 million, the tariffs would add up to $76.5 million in additional duties without NAFTA. Similarly, without NAFTA, beef would be subject to a 25% tariff. In 2016, the U.S. shipped $867 million of beef to Mexico. With a tariff in place, that would be $217 million in additional duties. Chicken and pork would also become far more expensive, with tariffs costing $653 million and $130 million respectively.

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Spell Check

Algoma, WI
1/26/2018 12:18 PM

  For those who love or hate Trump, remember this: he will be the president until January 2021. And I'm not sure if NAFTA or TPP does or would really help the ag sector with increasing exports. But I can tell you one thing: exporting and trading with other countries is necessary if this way of life is to survive. Farmers are very good at producing whatever they produce, so much so that there is almost always a surplus. One big way to lower the stocks is to trade with other countries. I just hope that trade in whatever form it takes in future months and years will allow US farmers to be able to be profitable and want to continue farming. This way of life is not easy, and farmers could (and some are) leaving this industry because of low prices for just about everything being sold at the present time. Even now, it seems as if the current trading done with other countries is not sufficient since the market prices are so low. But being without any kind of trading with other countries would definitely be a huge blow to the ag industry.

Craig County , VA
1/26/2018 12:29 PM

  I have not yet been disappointed in the decisions and actions taken by Pres. Trump yet. NAFTA is in the negotiation process. To get the most advantageous agreement there should be work done on it. It can obviously be greatly improved. I am surprised by some of the negative comments. Pres. Trump isn't a difficult person to figure out. He knows that negotiations are most effective coming from a position of strength, starting where you would most like it to be, not from the middle.

Gigi Varano
Parrish , FL
1/29/2018 09:12 AM

  NAFTA is a disaster for the USA and drove the economy (including farmers) almost to ruin. There has to be a fair balance across the board for Americans...for all farmers and ranchers. For all American businesses. NAFTA may leave but I guarantee a better agreement will be struck country by country by President Trump... have patience. There is a better mouse trap coming! He is a real business man and will not let you down... it is always darkest before the dawn. Have a little faith. He won't let us down.


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