Ag state senators peppered Trump Administration officials at USDA and the Office of the Trade Representative with questions regarding trade policy. The Thursday hearing focused on the Trump Administration’s policies and the resulting harm to American farmers from retaliatory tariffs.
Politico says both Republicans and Democrats gave an earful to USDA chief economist Robert Johansson, Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, and USTR chief agricultural negotiator Gregg Doud.
The questions boiled down to “when does the pain end for farmers?” Joe Donnelly of Indiana says, “It seems like the light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming at my farmers. They need to know there’s an off-ramp or an end to this.”
John Thune of South Dakota says the concern and anxiety level is continuing to rise in farm country. “My impression is that fact seems to fall on deaf ears around here,” Thune says. Republicans asked about the possibility of rejoining the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Doud responded by saying the president is correct to prefer a bilateral approach.
Thune responded with, “We’ve heard that we’re working on bilateral agreements since pulling out of TPP. I don’t see any evidence of that.”
Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.