Last night marked President Obama’s last State of the Union (SOTU) address, and as expected one area of focus was the fight against climate change. National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said after the speech that the administration’s focus on the climate change is an issue that farmers and ranchers across the U.S. have been dealing with for many years.
“We are greatly appreciative of the Administration’s focus on climate change,” said Johnson. “Their efforts to help mitigate climate change will give family farmers and ranchers a better shot at ensuring global food security. Family farmers and ranchers can employ numerous practices that reduce or sequester carbon when given the correct incentives.”
However, on trade issues, Johnson said Obama is not on target and the president’s signature trade deal will fail to deliver promised jobs, markets and economic growth for family farmers and ranchers unless there are enforceable rules against currency manipulation. Johnson noted that at least four member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are known currency manipulators. By manipulating their currencies, countries can make their goods less expensive on the world market, easily eliminating U.S. gains from trade deals. The practice has greatly contributed to this nation’s massive $508 billion trade deficit.
“Unfortunately, not everyone plays fair,” said Johnson. “Like many of the trade deals that proceeded it, the TPP fails to provide effective enforcement tools to prevent competitors from manipulating their currencies and thereby bypassing trade rules. Despite the president’s promises, the U.S. will be on the losing side of the trade ledger once again if we don’t tackle currency manipulation.”
Johnson also applauded the president for his efforts to end the embargo with Cuba. “NFU appreciates president’s actions to end 50 years of a failed, self-imposed trade embargo on an island nation of 11 million people just 90 miles from American shores. Now it is time for Congress to step up and end this embargo for good.”