President Trump scrapped a trade deal today that was in the works under the Obama Administration. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports that part of the agricultural industry was looking forward to the deal.
The Trans Pacific Partnership or T.P.P. would have lowered tariffs for a dozen Pacific Rim countries like Vietnam and Malaysia. California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen says the citrus industry was looking forward to working with the countries before President Trump signed an executive order to pull out of it.
“The tariff schedule for Japan was going to be significantly reduced and therefore make our product that much less expensive to a populous that likes California citrus," Nelsen says.
The deal had not been ratified by Congress and pulling out reversed decades of policy that would have decreased barriers to trade with the partnering nations.
“We’re still going to try and increase trade in Vietnam," says Nelsen. "We’re still going to sell citrus to Japan. It would of been easier if our product had been less expensive.”
Nielsen says it's going to be up to people like him to explain to the new administration why provisions laid out in T.P.P. need to be included in future policy.
The California Farm Bureau also expressed disappointment over President Trump's decision. In a press release, CFBF President Paul Wenger says he would like to see the administration find ways to open foreign markets for agricultural products.
“We operate in a world where it’s much easier for crops from other nations to enter the U.S. than for American farm goods to be sold elsewhere. “We will encourage the administration to work on smaller-scale agreements that would allow American farmers to trade with other nations on an equal basis.”
He also hopes that if the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is opened up that farm products are "left alone."
"We don’t want successful agricultural trade to be caught in any conflict about other portions of the agreement," says Wenger. "Trade in food and farm products benefits both rural and urban areas of California. For example, farm products represent the top export from the Port of Oakland, and agreements such as the TPP would allow us to reach more potential customers in key Pacific Rim markets.”