Thursday, November 9, 2017

How Trump Might Throw America's Farmers Under the Bus

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Donald Trump’s strategy to brand his political opponents swamp creatures may be what got him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But it’s hard to see how it can continue to succeed when, in his zeal to zero out a trade deficit with Mexico, he has turned his sights on an important engine of growth in red-state America.

At a private luncheon with Republican senators last Tuesday, Mr. Trump reportedly shared his
North American Free Trade Agreement negotiating strategy. According to Inside Trade, which spoke to senators who attended the gathering, the president believes that by issuing a notification of his intent to leave Nafta—which would trigger a six-month waiting period before the actual exit—he can force Mexico and Canada to make the concessions he wants.

“The president said there was no way to get the changes we need unless we get out, then have six months to negotiate,” one GOP senator told the Washington-based trade publication. Mr. Trump reportedly did not say what those concessions are. The only clear goal, according to one unnamed senator, is ending the trade deficit with Mexico.

The “walk-away” strategy worries Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, who told Inside Trade “that if you start the clock on NAFTA [withdrawal] that’s going to send very bad signals throughout the entire farm economy.” America’s farmers and ranchers exported $17.9 billion to Mexico in 2016.

Mr. Roberts added: “And then to restitch that and put it all back together it’s like Humpty Dumpty. You push Mr. Humpty Dumpty trade off the wall and it’s very hard to put him back together.”

Almost five million U.S. jobs rely on trade with Mexico, including jobs in auto manufacturing, auto parts, railroads, heavy equipment, machinery, oil and gas, steel fabricating, farming, ranching and food processing, as well as marketing, design, insurance, financial services and intellectual-property.

The pushback against Mr. Trump’s Nafta assault is not coming from “coastal elites” contemptuous of what they refer to as “flyover country.” It’s coming from the “flyover” industrial and farming heartland itself, which has the most to lose.

Read the rest here.


  1. Oh, come on now. Trumps is genius at everything. Through his genius and force of will, he can centrally plan society in the proper manner because building a society is like building a large hotel. Everyone know that!

  2. So was Ross Perot right though about NAFTA? Agriculture is probably one of the few bright sectors of the American economy, so I would not to see these guys hurt economically. However, the Mexican economy was not prepared to absorb the loss of ag jobs in their country which was one the driving factors to illegal immigration.