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Leaders of Oklahoma's Ag Community Applauds Senator James Lankford's Defense of NAFTA Treaty

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 15:14:50 CST

Leaders of Oklahoma's Ag Community Applauds Senator James Lankford's Defense of NAFTA Treaty On November 15, Senator James Lankford led a letter to the Trump Administration urging the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, to prioritize job creation over trade deficits and refrain from the pursuit of a “sunset” clause in new trade agreements. In reaction, The Oklahoman Editorial Board and Oklahoma agriculture leaders agreed with the approach on trade.

The Oklahoman: Delicate touch needed in NAFTA negotiations
By The Oklahoman Editorial Board
Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, joined two Senate colleagues in a letter this week to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, urging the administration to focus more on job creation and less on the trade deficit. The letter noted that in the past decade, “the year in which the U.S. unemployment rate was at its highest is the same year that the U.S. trade deficit was at its lowest.” “At the very least, there is a negligible correlation between the number of jobs in the U.S. economy and our nation's trade deficit,” they wrote. Kevin D. Williamson, a correspondent for National Review, argues that trade deficits should be the least of this country's concerns regarding NAFTA. A trade deficit, Williamson writes in the Nov. 13 edition , isn't a deficit “in the same sense as a federal budget deficit, and there is no cumulative effect analogous to the national debt.”

…This country shouldn't do something that would adversely impact its global standing. Pulling out of NAFTA would do that. No doubt there are revisions to the agreement that are worth pursuing, but the administration shouldn't allow adherence to populist rhetoric to get in the way of responsible policymaking. To do so in this case would hurt Oklahoma and the country.

Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey said, “The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association appreciates Senator Lankford’s strong commitment to free and fair trade. His highlighting reduction of excessive government red tape is spot on and should be the top priority of our trade agreements.”

Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Rodd Moesel said, “Oklahoma farmers and ranchers depend on international agricultural markets to remain in business, as 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. The North American Free Trade Agreement allowed Mexico to become a leading destination for Oklahoma’s leading agriculture commodities - beef and wheat. The trade pact led to an increase of agricultural exports from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38 billion in 2016, and allowed U.S. agriculture to maintain a positive trade balance with Mexico in 20 of the 23 years since NAFTA was created. Oklahoma Farm Bureau agrees with Sen. James Lankford: placing higher tariffs on imports will create additional trade barriers for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers and will harm our state’s second leading industry. We believe the modernization of NAFTA must prioritize and defend the gains achieved in U.S. agricultural trade.”

Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association President and CEO Joe Neal Hampton said, “Senator Lankford’s defense of free and fair trade should be applauded by Oklahomans and his colleagues in Congress alike. Oklahoma benefits greatly from open trade with countries around the world. The Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association appreciates Lankford’s commitment to opening up markets for Oklahoma agricultural exporters and ensuring our current trade agreements, like NAFTA, continue to benefit our state’s workers, consumers, and businesses.”

Source - The Office of Senator James Lankford



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