“Potential for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the "lame duck" session of Congress all but came to a halt this week when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in an upset over Hillary Clinton,” said the National Pork Producers Council in its Capital Update. As anyone in agriculture knows, Trump has been an outspoken opponent of the 12-country deal, which includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
“I think the TPP is dead, and there will be blood all over the floor if somebody tries to move that through the Congress anytime soon,” Trump confidante Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., told reporters Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., echoed Sessions’ statement. “It’s certainly not going to get brought up this year,” he said.
Still, NPPC believes there is hope for TPP in other parts of the world. It reported that Japan’s lower house of Parliament passed the TPP earlier this week. Japan's upper house has to give final approval, which could happen later this month.
According to NPPC, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to meet with Trump next week. In addition, President Obama will be meeting with leaders from the 11 other TPP countries next week at the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Peru.
Trade A Major Focus
The economy and trade are expected to be a major focus for the President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, reports Ashley Davenport for AgWeb this week.
In his first 100 days in office, Trump wants to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), still awaiting approval from Congress. Many agricultural groups support the agreement while Trump opposes it.
While it may look like Trump is against trade, he made it clear in his speech on Tuesday night that he wants trade – he just doesn’t like the big, multi-lateral agreements that lock the U.S. into a position that may not be advantageous to the U.S. If he’s willing to renegotiate NAFTA, and consider bi-lateral or tri-lateral agreements, then there may still be good opportunities for U.S. exports.
Opportunity to Modernize NAFTA?
On Thursday, leaders in both Canada and Mexico said they would be willing to sit down with Trump to renegotiate and modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While rural voters helped Trump claim victory, the agricultural industry hopes he also listens to their concerns on trade.
“Everyone is yearning for changes right now,” said Jim Zaleski, a rural Michigan voter quoted in Davenport’s article. “I’m one of them,” he said.
“If farmers don’t have some hesitation on President Trump’s trade policy, then they should,” said Patrick Pfingsten, director of agriculture at the Corydon Group. “It will be interesting to see how he moves that message, and how he works with foreign leaders.”
Trump has also been vocal about renegotiating or withdrawing from NAFTA, another trade deal impacting agriculture.
“Mexico is our No. 2 corn market,” said Jon Doggett, executive vice president of the National Corn Growers Association. “[If we need to renegotiate, it needs to be] with a grain of salt. We have some serious concerns in the corn industry about what’s going to happen to our No. 2 customer.”