When the TPP was introduced I wrote an article supporting the agreement. Why? Because it gave Ohio farmers and American Agricultural producers some light at the end of very long tunnel. After years of getting beat-up on the Global marketplace we could see and opportunity to final reach our export potential regarding ag products and services. Reducing the taxes and tariffs on products like soybeans and corn as well as livestock goods in the form of meat and pork would have a significantly positive impact on Ohio considering we are a leader in those categories when it comes to production and exports.
However, after listening to President Trump and more recently Peter Navarro, tapped by Trump to lead the newly created National Trade Council I feel that dropping out of the TPP would be a good thing American Agriculture. Although the talk around the TPP has been focused on manufacturing, a large part of the TPP involved the opportunity to increase our exports of agricultural goods to countries who have for years levied high and sometimes unfair taxes and tariffs on America.
When I first looked at the agreement the one thing that stood out more then anything else was the considerable time it would take to reduce those taxes and tariffs. In almost every case there was a 5-10 year gradual reduction but not a uniform reduction by all counties receiving those ag exports. Very few cases involved any immediately significant reductions. And when you take into consideration the enormous amount of taxes and tariffs already imposed on our products and services and the diversity by each nation involved it just seemed a more one-sided deal against the United States.
Listening to Navarro speak the other day, I am convinced that the new Trump administration will do the right thing. And that is to negotiate one-on-one with each nation seeking to improve and increase the import of American produced goods and services.
With exports generating 20 percent of farm income, trade is vital for creating markets for U.S. farm and food products, while supporting U.S. jobs and rural economic activity. Every dollar of agricultural exports stimulates another $1.27 in business activity … but it can be more!
The fear of not being in the TPP is risk being shut out of the fastest-growing markets in the Asia-Pacific. Not if we do exactly what the new administration wants to do and negotiate with each country separately generating more competition by countries looking for specific ag products — like soybeans to Japan and pork to Korea. U.S. food and agricultural products are recognized worldwide for their quality and safety and that alone should put us light-years ahead of our ag-competitors.
Asia will be the largest importer of food over the next generation, which means that U.S. producers will have vast new opportunities to sell their goods and services. And in order to make American farmers great again we need to aggressively market our agricultural good and services independently of the global marketplace … very similarly as our manufacturing goods and services.
Here’s seeing you, in Ohio Country!
The writer is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for more than 30 years.