Michigan agri-business to Trump: support international trade

Jan 24, 2017
Originally published on January 24, 2017 5:14 pm

One of Donald Trump's first actions as president was to cancel any U.S. involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership today. The big criticism around TPP? That it would lead to more job losses, according to its opponents.

But agricultural groups in Michigan say trade deals like the TPP (and NAFTA) are actually good for farmers. When foreign markets are making money, they can buy more of our Michigan and American-made food, the thinking gos. 

"We were really hoping for TPP to go through,” said Mary Kelpinski, CEO of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. “We're really hoping to work with this new administration and really are hopeful they will support an open trade market."

For instance, the demand for pork is really high at the moment, especially in Asian countries, Kelpinski says. And the lower tariffs that come with trade deals like the TPP, the better price Michigan farmers and agriculture businesses can get for their products. 

Kelpinski says that really adds up, especially now, when foreign countries make up a crucial percentage of the market. 

“If it wasn’t for the exports that we have currently, the pork producers would probably be hurting quite a bit,” she says. “Because the [domestic] market is so saturated right now that they wouldn’t be getting a very good price for their product.”

Kelpinski and other Michigan agricultural leaders signed an open letter to President Trump earlier this month, stressing the importance of trade deals to the state's economy.

“Without these markets, we would not be able to sell what we grow. Domestic markets alone can’t consume Michigan’s production of grain, dairy, pork, processed food products, biofuels, nursery crops, fruits and vegetables. We have to export!”

Read the entire letter here.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said today that the Trump administration wants "free and fair trade around the world".

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