In another confusing move, President Trump now threatens to close trade deals that allow beef importation into the United States.
He was vague with his statements, as usual, leaving us all to piece together the implications of what he said and decipher what it will mean for people in the US. For the record, the White House refuses to release an official statement on Trump’s plans for cattle, so it’s mostly speculation as to what the facts of this new policy will be.
So what really happened is Trump made an off-the-cuff statement to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in regards to beef imports.
“We have a lot of cattle in this country. I think we should look at the possibility of terminating those deals.”
He didn’t specify which deals. Currently, the US has several trade deals that allow the import of beef. If he were to stick to his threat there’d likely be a worldwide economic impact. At the very least this will further raise international tensions as it seems like Trump is starting to pick a fight with everyone.
Here’s why this is a bad idea:
In 2005 Bush made a deal with the Australian government for beef importation. To give some perspective last year Australia sent about 240,000 tonnes of Beef to the United States. Trump mentioned he felt the imports were not very much but 240,000 tonnes sound like a lot to me. And that’s just from one country.
The other countries most likely affected by ending beef importation, if he were to actually stick to what he says, are Mexico and Canada.
In 2018 Canada exported about $2.75 billion USD. 74 percent of those exports came right here to the United States. The argument is that those in the US have more than enough, but I think if that were truly the case there’d have been no need for trade deals in the first place.
This year on July 1st, a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is going into effect. This is what has previously allowed free trade among North America. It almost didn’t get passed again thanks to Trump and what seems to be a desire to crash the economy as fast as possible while also starting trade wars.
“Why would we bring in cattle from other countries when we have so much ourselves?” he stated to explain his idea.
All considered, especially with the recent drama of Coronavirus and the fact that farmers all over the nation have been literally allowing their crops both of meat and vegetables to rot. The last time to consider breaking trade deals that bring in FOOD of all things is amid a worldwide pandemic where food shortages are constantly breaking news.
Most of the imported beef comes from Canada and Mexico. The United States is currently the 3rd largest buyer of beef from Australia behind China and Japan. When the United States is already facing meat shortages, the last thing we want to do is get rid of food importation because of pride.
It will be interesting to see how these next few months turn out as Trump approaches possible re-election.
Check out more from the Homestead Guru: Rise of the Survival Garden: How to Grow Food During COVID Quarantine(Opens in a new browser tab)