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(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) In this opinion piece, Dan Glickman, former Agriculture Secretary and currently an executive director at the Aspen Institute and a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, writes: “The president’s threats and actions on trade has hurt our allies, our economy and in particular, our farmers. The politics of international trade was a key issue in the 2016 election and President Trump’s promises to renegotiate or withdraw the United States from most of our major trade agreements was the center of his pitch to Americans. But trade is a complicated part of our economy and a critical part of our international diplomatic and economic toolbox. Trump does not seem to appreciate this complexity.” Trump’s recent suggestion that the U.S. pull out of the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, says Glickman, boggles the mind. It is, he writes, “not only a national security issue of the highest magnitude, but a serious attack on our trade relationship with a key ally that will impact numerous industries and jobs in America. The reciprocal trade between the U.S. and South Korea runs into the tens of billions of dollars, benefitting both countries. Especially hard hit would be American agriculture, which has made good progress in recent years in selling agricultural commodities to South Korea.” In fact, he says, American agricultural exports have been huge beneficiaries of most trade agreements. “If we cannot rely on the Trump administration to further beneficial trading relationships with an ally like South Korea,” asks Glickman, “how can American farmers rely on the good faith of our government to maintain a healthy bilateral trading relationship with other countries with whom we do business?” The health of agriculture, he concludes, “ depends on open trade. Farmers and ranchers need foreign markets to stay economically viable. Farmers and agriculture is an important part of our economy and our way of life in this country… To needlessly harm our allies and our farmers is pointless.”

Posted September 11th, 2017