US needs to focus on other trade agreements

An associate professor at the University of Illinois says the US needs to focus on trade agreements other than just the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Kathy Baylis says while NAFTA is important to US agriculture, there is export growth in other countries that needs just as much attention.

She tells Brownfield that trade with southeast Asian, Japan, and South Korea is also beneficial.

“There are these other markets where we’ve got a foothold and we have some real potential to expand, but they’re also busy negotiating trade agreements among themselves and we’re the ones saying we’re not interested,” she says.

She says the ag industry will miss out if it loses its foothold in other countries. President Trump withdrew from the TPP trade negotiations in January and other countries are moving forward with the negotiations without the U.S.

“Even for products like corn, you might think we’re only exporting 13 percent of our production, but as soon as you add in all the corn that goes into feeding animals that are then being exported, suddenly we’re looking at more like 25-30 percent of corn exports.”

Baylis says farmers need to help educate political officials on the impact of trade.

She spoke to Brownfield during the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s annual agriculture conference on Tuesday.

Audio: Kathy Baylis, University of Illinois 

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