Sonny Perdue on Free Trade
Republican GA Governor
Under Secretary Perdue, the USDA will always be facts-based and data-driven, with a decision-making mindset that is customer-focused. He will seek solutions to problems and not lament that the agency might be faced with difficult challenges.
One of the core promises that swept President Donald Trump into office was that he would renegotiate better deals for the United States with our traditional trading partners. With the announcement of a new trade pact among the United States, Mexico and Canada, we welcomed the tremendous news that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be, if approved by Congress, replaced by a much stronger agreement. Known as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the package will be important for American workers and the economy.
Perdue said, "The great news of a new USMCA deal is important for our economy as a whole, including the agricultural sector, which counts Canada and Mexico in our top three trading partners. We have secured greater access to these vital markets and will maintain and improve the highly productive integrated agricultural relationship we have as nations."
But since those trade disputes, especially with China, are not settled, the Trump administration is initially making $6 billion available in emergency aid to farmers.
The Agriculture Department has authorized up to $12 billion in relief to U.S. growers. Soybean producers, in particular, have been hard hit by Chinese retaliatory tariffs and stand to get up to $3.6 billion in assistance under the Market Facilitation Program.
In June, Perdue told CNBC that Trump instructed him to make a plan for any potential impact from a trade war on farmers.
Perdue said at the time that he was calculating the effects of trade disruptions on a weekly basis and making them known to the administration. The payments to farmers will be based on "actual production, not on any kind of average," Perdue said. "It's going to be individual, by farmer."
The relief will not be able to make farmers "whole," but to ensure they don't have a disastrous season, he said.
Trump said [the new] trade agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, paving the way to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, will help farmers and manufacturers. Perdue predicted that the U.S.-Mexico trade deal will get Canada to come along on a finalized, new NAFTA-type agreement among the three nations.
The secretary spoke to Fox News as a set of 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of imported Chinese goods is due to take effect Aug. 23. The proposed tariffs affect more than 6,000 product lines, including seafood, tobacco and car components. Beijing has responded by threatening new tariffs of 5% to 25% on roughly 5,000 US products.
"China has not been playing by the rules for years and we've allowed for them year after year to get away with that," Perdue told Fox News. "And frankly, we've got barriers across the world, not just in China, but in the European Union. If we turned our farmers loose in America they would own the market internationally."
"During your visit, you will see that Atlanta is an important and growing hub for international trade. We've developed strong business ties with our neighbors in the Americas. We want to keep strengthening those relationships," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "I understand the importance of this region to Georgia's future. Central America is one of the fastest growing markets for the U.S., and especially for Georgia."
During his remarks, Governor Perdue also asked the visiting officials for their support to locate the headquarters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Atlanta.
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