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Free trade

Trade war hurts Kansas economy

POSTED August 9, 2018 4:46 p.m.

During his visit to Doonan Specialized Trailers in Great Bend this week, Sen. Pat Roberts spoke about how free trade benefits Kansas agriculture and industries like Doonan. Sen. Jerry Moran has come to the same conclusion. “I have been outspoken on the benefits of increased access to foreign markets for American farmers and ranchers,” Roberts said after he received the Congressional Leadership Award from the Washington International Trade Association. “Just last year, the total value of U.S. agricultural exports was more than $138 billion. That’s a roughly 200 percent increase from when NAFTA took effect. Clearly, free trade is not only good for U.S. agriculture, it is absolutely essential. I believe we should be aggressively seeking new agreements and trade opportunities around the world and then work to meet that demand. I have actively taken my concerns regarding today’s trade issues straight to President Donald Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.”

Sen. Moran recently spoke on the Senate floor about the need to inject more certainty into our trade policies.
His Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing with Lighthizer to discuss the administration’s trade policies and actions in Kansas.
“In Kansas, exports are the way we make a living,” Moran said. “Farmers and ranchers depend on the ability to sell the food, fuel and fiber they grow to consumers around the world. I expressed my concern to Ambassador Lighthizer that a prolonged global trade war will raise the price of goods for consumers, result in more retaliation against Kansas ag producers and manufacturers and weaken our ability to work with our allies to challenge China’s unfair trade practices. Approximately $361 million of Kansas exports are already being targeted in trade disputes with China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union. ... We need certainty and reassurance in our trade policies, and I’m making that clear to my colleagues and administration officials.”

Both Roberts and Moran have gone on record that the trade war is hurting Kansas farmers and ranchers, and that two of the largest markets for Kansas producers, China and Mexico, have started to buy more ag commodities from Brazil and Argentina instead. Free trade agreements have served Kansas well.
Let’s hope that the president is listening to what Kansas senators are saying.


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