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Agriculture This Week - American withdrawals a matter for concern

It is a rare situation when a group of countries can come to a single agreement on anything.

It is a rare situation when a group of countries can come to a single agreement on anything.
In terms of agriculture, the situation is often more difficult because there is an underlying desire by many nations to ensure domestic farmers are allowed to operate as a way to ensure domestic food supplies.
As a result, talks toward agreements such as the World Trade Organization deal on agriculture can take years to work through.
So when deals are made, while often watered down in some ways in order to achieve a consensus, there is at least a deal that provides a framework to build on.
Sadly, new United States president Donald Trump seems to see every deal as a targeted attack on the American economy.
It is part of a broader philosophy of protectionism; the policy of shielding a country’s domestic industries from foreign competition.
It discounts the aging infrastructure that exists in the United States in many sectors, and issues with wage structure, and quality, which impact trade numbers, but it is the easy option, blaming trade deals and other countries for at-home economic problems.
So Trump has been busy in his early months in the oval office pulling out of deal, after deal.
First it was withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal.
Then came an announcement he wants to re-open the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Then Trump at least rattled the bars in terms of how the US views its responsibility with NATO.
Now Trump has announced he plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.
A number of these decisions should concern farmers. Deals such as the TPP and NAFTA have a direct impact of agriculture trade.
But the Paris climate agreement could be the pull-out with the longest term impact.
The deal had been about all-encompassing as possible with only Syria and Nicaragua not original signatories, although Trump’s America is on the list now.
Trump’s decision is concerning because it and repudiates the sound science linking greenhouse gas emissions to climate change, and climate change is most certainly an issue farmers better be aware of moving forward because it could directly change what farmers can grow in a given region.
Trump suggests he’ll renegotiate all of these deals and by the power of his negotiation leadership emerge with better deals for Americans.
But that is again protectionist thinking.
Trade deals should be good for all signatories.
The climate deal good for the earth’s future.

Trump’s position seems to simply be focused on the U.S. retreating from its one-time position of world leadership, to that of spoilt child, and that is not good news to Canadian farmers.
Calvin Daniels is Editor with Yorkton This Week.

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