May 26, 2022

May 26, 2022

Hello, everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now today’s commentary-

U.S. farmers have had their foot on the accelerator pushing to get the crops in the ground. Wet and cold weather was a problem for a while, but we are approaching the finish line. My farm in Illinois is all planted with the corn up and growing and most of the soybeans. Now, all we can do is pray for good crop weather. Some of our northern Midwest states have had to deal with terrible weather. Also, if you go west drought doesn’t want to let up.

Let’s talk about trade now. President Biden has not been in a hurry to rejoin the Transpacific
Partnership. President Trump pulled us out of that agreement which would have improved our
trade relations with many Asian countries. Japan is still urging the U.S. to rejoin. I don’t know
why we don’t rejoin. Instead, President Biden launched negotiations in Tokyo this week with 12
countries to create the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. That agreement will include Japan,
Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, India and others. The
agreement is supposed to strengthen our trade ties and national security relations in that part of
the world. Taiwan is left out of the deal because that would anger China and might cause some
of the members to object. The countries in the agreement want to work more closely together and
deliver a positive economic impact. The details of the pact will take months maybe a year to
work out.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai had this to say, “collectively the trade pillar in this agreement will unlock enormous economic value.” Robert Manning, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council has his doubts. “No matter how they package it, IPEF is not a substitute for TPP. There is trade liberalization, no tariff reduction, and unclear if any binding agreements.” The new Asian agreement is clearly designed to get the U.S. back into the region and counter China. It is too soon to know if it will be worth the effort. We need to begin negotiating tariff reductions – especially with China.

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