The Trouble with Trade - NCBA's Kent Bacus Says with Trade Deals, We're Our Own Worst EnemyMon, 04 Feb 2019 11:33:16 CST
As the Trump Administration continues to work toward striking new trade deals with countries like China, Japan and the European Union - Kent Bacus, director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says the challenge in getting these deals done is not just in the negotiations but getting Congress to approve them as well. However, in a recent conversation with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, Bacus explained that this could be difficult given the current political environment in Washington, DC. Nonetheless, he contends the Administration understands how important opening these markets are to US agriculture and believes President Trump is committed to making things work. The issue is simply that the Administration is fighting so many fronts right now.
“I think we have a lot of balls in the air right now. We’re spending a lot of time trying to negotiate with China, trying to get the USMCA across the line as well - and in the middle of that we’re trying to negotiate a bilateral agreement with the Japanese,” Bacus said. “I think it’s going to be tough to just copy and paste some of the terms from TPP and throw them in with an agreement with Japan, because the dynamics have changed.”
The reality of the situation, Bacus says, is that getting a deal done with Japan could take some time. Bacus says his hope is that the US will have some success soon in one of its many ongoing projects that will in turn free up some resources to refocus on Japan. Even if that happens, though, Bacus warns that there will still be significant hurdles in getting the deals ratified by Congress. Bear in mind, the coming presidential election presents a host of issues as the half a dozen or so White House hopefuls that have already announced their candidacy will try every they can to keep Trump from accomplishing anything leading up the election - not to mention the existing political gridlock between the Oval Office and House and Senate Democrats.
“So, we’re hopeful there will be some kind of bipartisan initiative to move forward on this because this is good for our economy. We need to do this,” he said. “But, you know, common sense is usually in a shortage in Washington, so we’ve got to find a way to move this process forward.”
Listen to Bacus and Hays discuss the challenges of finalizing trade deals with our international trade partners, 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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