Though Painful, Beef Producers Continue to Back President's Trade War: "Do What You Gotta Do"Fri, 17 Aug 2018 10:19:04 CDT
Kent Bacus is director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in its Washington, DC office. In a recent conversation with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, he mentioned that a lot of people in agriculture have long complained about the unlevel playing field on the international arena with trade partners like the European Union, China and others. And, now that the Trump Administration is trying to address some of those inequalities, they are starting to feel the pain as a consequence of the tariffs being used by both sides to influence the outcome of the trade war we find ourselves in today.
“Unfortunately for agriculture, we’re a big target for other countries. When they see the reactions coming from the ag community, they know they’ve got a sensitive point and they know where they can apply pressure,” Bacus explained. “So, a lot of countries have doubled down on that. All of that’s political leverage, so it really is about leveling the playing field.”
For years, Bacus says US producers have been treated unfairly in the international marketplace. From what he can tell, it seems President Trump has deduced that the only way to fight fire is with fire in this case - and that is exactly what he is doing by imposing massively restrictive tariffs against many of our largest trading partners. Bacus explains that the tariffs are designed to create an incentive for other countries to come to the table and force them to discuss matters they would prefer not to. Bacus understands that in the short-term, this strategy is very painful for agriculture, but says the industry understands the necessity of what the President must do to get the point across to other nations that the US will no longer tolerate unfair treatment in matters of trade.
“We hope these other countries get the message, because it’s clear the President is going to continue to move forward and apply tariffs,” he contended. “I think at the end of the day these other countries are going to feel the pain, too. That’s the whole goal, to incentivize them to come to the table. Our message to the Administration has been and will continue to be - we need that short-term to be as short as possible, but… do what you gotta do.”
Listen to Bacus and Hays discuss President Trump’s strategy for the trade war and ag’s position on that plan, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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