“If the actual withdrawal from NAFTA occurs, I think it is very damaging to the economy”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) joined Bloomberg today to discuss the importance of trade to the Kansas economy and what withdrawing from NAFTA could mean to farmers, ranchers and manufacturers.
David Westin (0:25): “Give us the perspective from Kansas: how much would withdrawing from NAFTA really hurt your state and the people in it?”
Sen. Moran (0:32): “Well I think it’s significant. There is nothing wrong with trying to get a better trade agreement to modernize, to update or to bring in technology. But if the actual withdrawal from NAFTA occurs, I think it is very damaging to the economy […] We are an export state. You mentioned in the prelude to me that this is about agriculture and that is absolutely true. Mexico is the number one purchaser for agriculture commodities from the state of Kansas in the world. But we are also an airplane manufacturing state, an automobile manufacturing state and how we do business and how we sell what we produce brings income to our state. We are urging caution, and I think there has been a belief among some that American agriculture is always going to be there and no country could walk away from our market and our ability to export to them. Unfortunately there is significant competition.”
David Westin (1:57): “Net farm income peaked in 2013 to more than $120 billion and it is down now to about $63 billion. This is a particularly difficult time for farmers to take a reduction.”
Sen. Moran (2:11): “Absolutely. There is nothing easy about being a farmer ever, but it is especially difficult now. Commodity prices are low, farm income, as your chart shows, is significantly down. The way I would draw the picture for our viewers is you can drive across Kansas and most of our towns have a grain elevator where grain is stored before it is sold or exported. Those elevators are full, the grain is piled on the ground. There has been little market and little movement in that grain and so we are still trying to get rid of harvest that occurred a year ago and we’ll have harvest again this year. Our access to world markets, not just Mexico and Canada, but access to the world to export those agriculture commodities is how we earn a living.”