American Farmers Are Getting Left Behind Without TPP

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Although Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) shortly after taking office in 2017, other nations who spent years negotiating with the Obama Administration decided to preserve what they had and sign it without the United States.

The consequences of that may not have been immediately noticeable because each nation still had to ratify the trade agreement and wait for its provisions to take effect, but that time is approaching and American farmers can do nothing but watch as they lose market share while Trump rants and raves in the White House.

"Japan is generally a market where we seek to maintain our strong 53 per cent market share, but today we face an imminent collapse," US Wheat Associates President Vince Peterson told a public hearing held by the US Trade Representative earlier this month.

"Frankly, this is because of provisions negotiated by (former US president Barack Obama's administration) for our benefit under the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"Our competitors in Australia and Canada will now benefit from those provisions, as US farmers watch helplessly."

Because we're now officially entering the presidential primary season and the next election, I feel the need to say that Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership or to pursue his failed effort to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did not happen in a vacuum.

It may even be fair to say it was not Trump's idea, at least not entirely. Trump has few if any original ideas.

Trump did not call for withdrawing from our trade agreements in any significant way until he saw how potent of an attack it was against Hillary Clinton. Certain Democrats and an Independent senator spread misinformation to attack our agreements long before Trump called for withdrawing and before he officially did so.

You can be sure that I will vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is in 2020, but I personally will not vote for an anti-trade candidate during the primary process.

I can't vote for someone who opposes key economic systems and international alliances for vague rhetorical reasons rather than empirical reasons. I'm not voting for someone who eulogizes an economy of yesteryear that no longer exists because, if you do that, you'll end up selling people the same lies that Trump did.

My gut says we're going to revisit this topic many times this year.

  • muselet

    Modern nations rely on trade for their economic survival.

    Donald Trump doesn’t understand that. Rs pretend not to understand that. Red-state voters know better but vote for Rs anyway.

    As long as we have Trump as president and Rs in control of the part of Congress that ratifies treaties, the United States will be at a competitive disadvantage in the world.


    • Draxiar

      I think you are possibly giving the R voting Red State voters much too much credit in their “knowing better”.

      • Badgerite

        Well, the farmers who are affected by this know they are hurting but they are so wrapped up in the ‘identity politics’ of the gop that they don’t want to admit that they are voting against their own interests and for the destruction of their livelihoods. Case in point, red state voters support the ACA because they know they benefit from it but they do not support ‘Obamacare’. And these are, of course, different names for the exact same piece of legislation. This is the true ‘identity politics’ of our era. What the Dems engage in is the support and encouragement of civil rights of all citizens. That is not ‘Identity politics’. That is just a proper regard for the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

      • muselet

        Any farmer—anyone who knows a farmer—knows trade is the key to not having the business go tits-up. I’d say that means those people do in fact know better.


        • Draxiar

          Fair point.

  • katanahamon

    Many of us have said it here before, that leaving an open system invites that system to self correct, and reentering that corrected system will be more difficult in the future. All of Rump’s protectionist policies simply segregate American farmers and reduce their ability to compete in the alleged “free market,” which is what the Repubs allegedly support so fervently. Will Rump attempt yet more bailouts, I’m sorry, I mean “buyoffs for farmers’ votes” to bolster his support? The last one wasn’t even successful. This is, once again, the result of allowing a complete fool to play at being president.