By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Some Minnesota business leaders and farmers are concerned about the end of America’s participation in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

President Donald Trump signed a memorandum Tuesday to leave the proposed Pacific Rim trade pact. He’s blamed past trade deals for a decline in U.S. factory jobs.

Minnesota Business Partnership executive director Charlie Weaver told Minnesota Public Radio News ( ) that the decision was disappointing.

“Clearly global trade is really important to Minnesota,” Weaver said. “One in five Minnesota jobs depends on international trade.”

Nearly half of Minnesota’s $20 billion in annual exports go to the dozen or so nations that are part of the TPP negotiations, according to a U.S. Department of Commerce analysis. Another $1.5 billion goes to a subset of nations with no preferential trade measures.

Under the proposed plan, tariffs those countries impose on industrial and consumer goods, which are currently as high as 59 percent, would have dropped to negligible levels.

One concern is that soybean-exporting countries, like Brazil, will grab a larger market share in the Pacific. Minnesota is the nation’s third largest soybean exporter.

“Half of the beans that we raise get exported, and these Pacific Rim countries are our customers,” said Lawrence Sukalski, a Fairmont farmer who is a board member the American Soybean Association and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.

Sukalski said the farm groups opposed the trade deal.

Land Stewardship Project executive director Mark Schultz said the president was right to pull out of the proposed trade pact because it could’ve driven grain prices down.

“It was written by corporate lobbyists and agribusiness and financial interests,” Schultz said. “It would help those that are really involved and profiting from international trade. But it wouldn’t help family farmers.”

Trump has also promised to open up the more than 20-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement for renegotiation. The stakes for Minnesota could be higher there because Mexico and Canada are its two largest trading partners.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News,

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