Nebraska farmers and ranchers would suffer “devastating consequences” should President Trump act to withdraw the United States from the South Korean Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). In a letter sent to the President, Sept. 6, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson called actions to pull the U.S. out of the agreement “reckless” and urged President Trump to pull back considering the importance of the South Korean trade deal to Nebraska farmers and ranchers.
“The success Nebraska has experienced trading on the world stage is largely due to the free trade agreements the United States has signed with numerous countries around the world,” wrote Nelson. “Nebraska exports boost farm prices and income, while supporting 50,000 jobs both on the farm and in related industries such a food processing, transportation, and manufacturing. More specifically, South Korea is Nebraska’s fifth largest trading partner with more than $213 million of agricultural products being exported in 2016, a total that has grown by more than 107 percent since 2010.”
In the letter, Nelson pointed out that Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are continuing to struggle with lower commodity prices and eliminating a trade agreement that’s provided underlying support for agriculture prices would only make a tough situation worse.
“The families that have dedicated their lives to producing food, should not be used as part of a misguided attempt to gain leverage over our trading partners. While we hope new levels of success can be achieved for all segments of our nation’s economy, we must ensure the significant gains achieved in agricultural trade are not sacrificed,” wrote Nelson. “Many of our major international competitors have already signed similar agreements with South Korea. An exit from KORUS will only benefit those nations and put Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers at a competitive disadvantage.”