from the National Farmers Union
WASHINGTON – National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson today cautioned the American public – rural and urban alike – to be very leery of the rhetoric being used to sell upcoming trade deals and to insist that any agreement signed by this country has the primary goal of reducing the overall trade deficit.
“Trade is neither inherently good nor is it inherently bad,” said Johnson. “And the string of deals that have been signed into law over the past decade, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the more recent Korean trade deal have failed to deliver prosperity and instead have exported good American jobs while growing the overall trade deficit,” he said.
Johnson noted that in 2014, the trade deficit increased to $505 billion, representing nearly 3 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and slowing growth for the overall economy. “Yes, the positive trade balance of U.S. agriculture trade is good news – but it is massively overshadowed by the alarming overall U.S. trade deficit,” he said.
“And all family farmers and ranchers should take note of that,” he said.
Johnson said that Congress should deny the request of the president, and any president in the future, who asks for Trade Promotion Authority — also known as Fast Track.
“Fast Track allows the president to negotiate these agreements in secret and then present them to Congress for an up or down vote, with any and all amendments forbidden. Trade agreements that lack transparency should raise everyone’s eyebrows,” said Johnson.