Ag industry responds to TPP death knell

Farmers now hope for similar bilateral agreements.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Calling it a great move for American workers, Trump signed the executive order this morning at the White House.

He’s blamed past deals for the decline in US factory jobs, but many in the agricultural industry were hoping the TPP would help out struggling farmers and ranchers.

Experts say the effects of not having the TPP won’t be felt right now, but it will have a long-term impact throughout the Midwest.

“Farmers’ wallets right now are already suffering,” said farmer and KSN agriculture expert John Jenkinson, “so this won’t have a real big impact initially. It’s further down the road that this could exacerbate and become more and more of a problem.”

Farmers across the country are struggling with large grain surpluses and shrinking incomes.

Any hope that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would open up new markets to sell to, like Vietnam, are now gone.

“We could end up with more piles of grain,” said Jenkinson, “because we export over 50 percent of our wheat and 50 percent of our soybeans outside of the United States.”

Without new markets to sell to, another big harvest would just increase the existing grain surplus, adding insult to injury.

The American Soybean Association says they have been in contact with the president’s agricultural advisors for months. They are optimistic that any future bilateral trade agreements will include the same benefits for farmers as the TPP, such as opening new markets and lowering tariffs to sell in existing markets.

So far there are no such plans in place.

“Although we are disappointed with the decision to with drawl the United States from the TPP, we are optimistic that we will be, we will have a seat at the table,” said Richard Wilkins, Chairman of the American Soybean Association.

Jenkinson says that stepping away from the TPP could have damaging effects on future trade negotiations and it opens the way for china to position itself as the leader in global trade.

“By not having this, without being very active or very proactive, the United States could be left out of other deals that could affect us down the road,” said Jenkinson.

That’s something that right now, many farmers can’t afford.

The agreement had been worked on for nearly a decade.

It would have been between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries.

That area accounts for roughly one-third of global trade.

There was widespread criticism that it would lead to American job losses, but there was hope that it would open new markets to American agricultural products like wheat and corn.