Many Baffled by Trump’s Trade ‘Strategy’


President Trump’s aggressive trade strategy of threatening to pull out of existing agreements without big concessions to the U.S. is being both defended and criticized in farm circles.

President Trump is again taking a hard line with U.S. trading partners in Asia, after first dumping TPP and now threatening to ditch NAFTA.

It’s a strategy that has many, especially in heavily trade-dependent agriculture, and in states won by the president, scratching their heads. But USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told USDA Radio…

“Obviously the president has his own negotiating style, and in writing “The Art of the Deal’, and in New York real estate circles, he was convinced that the other people on the other side of the table had to be persuaded that you were willing to walk away from the deal, in order to get the best deal.

“His heart is with the deal for America, I’m persuaded of that, and I believe we’ll get that.  I think there may be some bumpy, anxious moments in between, but I believe the president is absolutely committed to getting the best NAFTA deal for the United States as well as our other trading partners.”  

But, Senate Republican Chuck Grassley, who met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last week, is raising ‘red flags’ that the White House may invoke a NAFTA withdrawal procedure, doing grave damage to U.S. agriculture…

“Lighthizer gets it, agreed that losing NAFTA would have a very negative impact on the farm sector.  And his admitting that makes me wonder why there’s such an aggressive approach that might harm agriculture from taking everybody to the brink of these talks, and they’re not the brink yet, but they’re getting darn close.”

In the meantime, President Trump took a hard line on trade in Japan at the start of the week, scolding his hosts for the “massive trade deficits” the U.S. has with Japan, where the U.S. is looking for a deal to replace TPP. Trump largely avoided a question on whether his tough trade stance puts him on a collision course with China. He’ll visit there later this week. China’s farm subsidies and barriers to U.S. farm goods are well known in America.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.