MISSOURI –Missouri congress members are working to help President Donald Trump understand the possible repercussions of certain trade agreements. As Congressman Sam Graves who represents the sixth district in Missouri explained, there are trade agreements which have not been finalized, therefore it’s best to be prepared and informed at all times.
In Wednesday’s Newsmaker, KMZU’s Ashley Craft spoke with U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Representative Sam Graves about the possibility of a trade war. Click below to hear the entire Newsmaker.
“What we have to worry about is markets for corn and soybeans for instance, which are the biggest agriculture products produced in our area,” Graves said. “We have to worry about the tariffs going up on those and potentially losing some of those markets overseas.”
Graves said he is urging trade representatives to pay close attention to these potential concerns. He stated that he is advising representatives to “tread lightly” when dealing with allies and countries that the U.S. has good standing trade agreements with currently.
“If we end up with a trade war or we end up losing markets as a result of that, then it’s going to hurt agriculture quite a bit,” Graves said. “So we just want to avoid that. I’m working with the administration to do everything we can.”
Like Graves, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is also working with administration to prevent disastrous situations for the agriculture community.
“Agriculture is the bedrock of Missouri’s economy, and what our farmers need most as they make very expensive decisions is certainty—so not knowing whether retaliation will make them unable to sell their crops in the global marketplace is causing a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety for our agriculture community,” McCaskill said. “This is unfortunate and uncharted territory, and I’ll continue pushing the administration to scale back this dangerous escalation before Missouri agriculture becomes the scapegoat in a trade war.”
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, expressed his concern over potential trade agreements as well.
“I think we’d benefit from open markets, but we’d also benefit from enforcing the agreements that other countries have entered into with us,” Blunt said. “NAFTA would be a great example of an arrangement that has really benefited us. If NAFTA went away, Missouri would be the fifth most negatively impacted state of losing the benefits of NAFTA. But that doesn’t mean that after 23 years that there aren’t some things that need to be updated and looked at again.”
According to Blunt, U.S. senators met with the president and his trade team last Thursday, June 7, to discuss the importance of the agreements and needed updates. Based on their conversation, Blunt stated President Trump is now focusing his attention on trade agreements with Mexico and Canada.
“The president is now talking about possibly doing those one at a time, where we’d have two one-way agreements, one with the U.S. and Mexico and another U.S. and Canada,” Blunt said. “And then they’d have to work out their own agreement of trade that goes through both of their countries, but however we get it done it’s important that we look at it again with a set of fresh eyes after 23 years.”
When asked if the president has a set timeline, Blunt said he wished there was a set date of when negotiations would come to an end. Currently, he said he is instructing the president to reach some conclusions soon and to avoid trade negotiations in countries where they are not necessary. Blunt said he’d preferably like to see the agreements with Mexico and Canada finalized by the end of the summer or early fall.
“There’s an election in Mexico this year, in July, for the presidency of that country,” Blunt said. “And then there’s an election next year in October in Canada. Both of those dates probably have some impact on how these agreements get finalized.”
While the timing of certain trade agreements is a bit unknown, Representative Graves has high hopes that positive changes can occur from future trade negotiations.
“This is something that is very, very important,” Graves said. “I do believe that the president is working hard to get better trade deals with countries like China, that abuse the system all the time.”