An article recently appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star about USTR Michael Froman’s trip to Nebraska to promote the Trans Pacific Partnership and the TPP. The article was full of statements supporting the TPP. Froman said the agreements will benefit Nebraska by opening markets for export goods, including soybeans, corn, beef, pork and machinery. Expanded markets mean more demand, better prices and more jobs. John Hansen, President of the Nebraska Farmers Union, however, had a dissenting opinion. Here are his remarks from the article:
Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said the trade deals campaign, like many others, is full of empty promises and politics. Hansen attended the ag leadership meeting with Froman.
“Every time we do a free trade agreement, we have all this hype before it’s approved,” Hansen said in a phone interview. “We have all these promises about what is going to happen, then after it’s over nobody wants to keep track of the numbers because it never performs as promised.
“If you look at the last three years for the Korean Free Trade Agreement … U.S. exports to Korea are at best flat. Beef is down 5 percent, pork is down 2 percent, poultry down 41 percent and grains and feeds down 21 percent. And yet Korean ag exports to the United States are up 28 percent.”
Hansen said the U.S. trade deficit increased to $505 billion in 2014, slowing overall economic growth.
John Hansen also sits on the board of the Coalition for a Prosperous America.