Grassley urges Trump to focus on trade |

Grassley urges Trump to focus on trade

Charles Grassley

After he and other Republican senators met Feb. 14 with White House National Trade Council Chairman Peter Navarro, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he had emphasized the importance of trade to agriculture, and that bilateral agreements will need congressional approval.

In a statement, Grassley said, “I pointed out that U.S. agriculture is often the first target when countries retaliate against the United States on trade. Just today, there were headlines about plans for a bill in Mexico directing Mexico to stop buying American corn in favor of corn from Brazil and Argentina. This is reported to be in response to administration policies. All of us looking at new trade deals or renegotiating prior trade deals need to have our eyes open and consider that U.S. agriculture is generally a major exporter.

“Anything that restricts export markets for U.S. farm products very likely means lost income for Iowa farmers and ag workers,” he continued. “It’s also important to remember that it’s not just multilateral agreements like the Transpacific Partnership Agreement that need congressional approval. Bilateral agreements have to go through Congress, too. If the president can negotiate better deals for the United States, I’m all for it, but I don’t want to see anything that hurts major sectors of the economy, like agriculture.”

Radio Iowa reported that Grassley also said he is not certain better relations with Canada can be achieved.

“We already had a free trade agreement with Canada before we negotiated the three-way NAFTA agreement,” Grassley said. “We have pretty good trading relationships with Canada, and I’m not sure we can do much better.”

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