#Vote4Ag 2016: Presidential Responses: INTERNATIONAL TRADE and TPP

Every four years, the American Farm Bureau Federation asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address the issues that concern farmers and ranchers the most. We asked Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump the same questions.

trump-and-clintonInternational trade was a major theme in the opening half hour of Monday night’s presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  Selling more of our goods around the world is a great way to help farms and ranches, benefit rural communities, and keep the United States ahead of its global competitors. Farm Bureau seeks the successful conclusion and congressional approval of trade agreements and other measures to expand global markets for U.S. agricultural exports.

According to a U.S. International Trade Commission report released May 18, 2016, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would reduce the U.S. trade deficit and increase jobs throughout the country, but some of the biggest gains would be for the agriculture sector.

AFBF President Duvall said in an Agri-Pulse interview, “We look at this as a competitive issue.  It is very difficult for us to find new markets and broaden our markets here in America and the only way to expand our markets is to do it overseas and this is a great opportunity for us to go into the Pacific Rim and be able to compete and be able to spread our market out and sell some of our products there.  We need this to happen now because American agriculture is in a very bad economy right now and this is one thing that Congress could do immediately to give (farmers) some relief in rural America …”  The full article can be found here.

There is no better way to create jobs at home, help small businesses, expand consumer choices, and improve American competitiveness that selling more of our goods and services to countries around the world.  95% of the world’s consumers live outside our borders.  Yet, while our markets are largely open to trade, many other countries are not.

American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that annual net farm income will increase by $4.4 billion, driven by an increase of direct U.S. agricultural exports of $3.5 billion per year upon full implementation of the TPP agreement.  Eliminating tariffs and other barriers on United States’ agricultural products going into TPP countries, the agreement will increase trade for a range of U.S. agricultural products, including beef, pork, fruits and nuts, vegetables, soybeans, poultry, dairy, rice, cotton and processes food products.

It is also estimated that increased marketing opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers will add more than 40,100 jobs to the U.S .economy.

We asked each of the candidates the following question:

The United States has worked assertively over many different presidencies to set the example for fair and open trade, for resolving trade disputes using sound, science-based principles and standards and for gaining access to new markets. As president, will you be an aggressive proponent for expanding trade and be willing to pursue remedies against nations and their leaders who use various barriers to unfairly shield their markets from competition?

The TPP Agreement would boost U.S. agriculture exports and grow farmers’ and ranchers’ income by more than $4 billion a year. That market growth and income boost is needed more than ever as our farmers face a downturn in commodity prices. Will you support ratification of the TPP Agreement to bring down foreign tariffs, address non-science-based barriers to trade and enable America’s farmers to sell more of their farm goods around the world?


“Hillary has a long record of standing up to countries like China. She fought against the Chinese when they tried to discriminate against New York companies, and she went toe-to-toe with them as Secretary of State. As president, Hillary will also crack down on foreign countries who cheat the rules by appointing a new trade prosecutor to keep other countries honest, and will use all of our tools to ensure other countries treat our products fairly, including our anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws, and pursuing taking cases at the WTO. Hillary has also established a plan to stop rewarding U.S. companies for moving jobs overseas.”


“For generations, America has been the breadbasket of the world. Hillary believes we can and must forge better trade deals for American workers, farmers, and other businesses. She believes any trade deal must create American jobs, raise wages, and improve our national security. Every new trade deal must meet that test. In fact, Hillary opposed the only multilateral trade deal she voted on in the Senate because it didn’t meet that standard. And as soon as the details of the final TPP deal were finalized – including what it contains on currency manipulation and pharmaceuticals – she came out in opposition. It didn’t meet her standard. The TPP also contains a weak “rules of origin” standard on automobiles that gives a backdoor into our markets to countries like China. Hillary has been clear and specific in her opposition to the TPP. She opposes it now, she opposes it in November, and she will not move it forward in January.”


“As President, I will be an aggressive proponent for defending the economic interests of American workers and farmers on the world stage. I will fight against unfair trade deals and foreign trade practices that disadvantage the United States.

“I strongly oppose TPP as drafted and will work hard to develop trade agreements that are in the national interest and benefit American workers including our farmers.”   


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