Earlier this week, Canada agreed to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP 11). President Trump on his first day in office chose to remove the United States from TPP, after finding it “terribly structured.” As eleven other countries move the pact forward, the U.S. agriculture industry worries over missed opportunities. An Iowa Senators stance regarding President Trump’s decision and her pledge to improve market access.
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) told reporters Thursday she did not agree with President Trump’s decision. However, she implied the decision to remove the U.S. from TPP was inevitable.
“In the last election cycle, we had a Democratic and Republican candidate stating they would both withdraw from TPP,” Ernst said. “We were in a no-win situation when it came to trade. Trump followed through with what he stated during the campaign and withdrew from TPP. I didn’t agree with Clinton or Trump on this aspect. I believe trade is extremely important, especially when it comes to (the) agricultural community and opening up some additional markets.
Ernst, disappointed in Trump’s decision, says she’s “very sorry the United States is not part of those discussions or current trade agreement.” However, she remains optimistic about further trade opportunities.
“The other day, I sat down with our nominee for U.S. Ambassador to South Korea and visited with him about the potential that still might remain there,” Ernst said. “Although we are missing a great opportunity, at least the structure is in place. If in the future the United States would choose to engage with these countries in TPP, there’s still an opening for us to go in.”
Nonetheless, Ernst promises to share the importance of trade and provide more market opportunities for the agriculture sector.
“We will keep pushing the fact that we need to be engaging in trade. Whether it’s a TPP-type of agreement, KORUS, NAFTA, agreements with the European Union or Great Britain, we need to engage. We exist in a global economy and cannot survive without that global economy. I’ll keep pushing that. I am hoping to engage with the White House in the upcoming week to talk specifically about trade,” Ernst said.