“Terminating KORUS would leave our farmers at a competitive disadvantage to those in other countries that enjoy preferential trade access to Korea. American farmers and ranchers would lose market share, and their profitability would be impacted at a time when they are already struggling with historically low commodity prices.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, sent a letter to President Trump expressing her concern over reports that the United States might withdraw from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

In the letter, Senator Ernst highlighted the importance of this trade deal to both the U.S. and Korea, stating that “with over $144 billion in goods and services moving between us in 2016. One of our top trading partners, Korea represents our 7th largest goods export market, and stepping away from this deal could have many negative consequences.”

Additionally, the Iowa Senator detailed the potential negative outcomes for our nation’s agricultural economy: “Terminating KORUS would leave our farmers at a competitive disadvantage to those in other countries that enjoy preferential trade access to Korea. American farmers and ranchers would lose market share, and their profitability would be impacted at a time when they are already struggling with historically low commodity prices.”

Senator Ernst has consistently focused on the need for strong trade agreements to foster relationships with nations, and reemphasized again today that “In addition to the negative impact on our family farms, backing out of this agreement could have geo-political ramifications as well.” This rings true especially in the Pacific Rim, where “there is another economic force in the region that would gladly step in to fill that void and consolidate power, and that nation is China.”

The full text of Senator Ernst’s letter to President Trump can be found below or by clicking here.

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump:

I write to you today to express my strong concern with the rumored proposal to withdraw the United States from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). This trade deal has been beneficial to both of our countries, with over $144 billion in goods and services moving between us in 2016. One of our top trading partners, Korea represents our 7th largest goods export market, and stepping away from this deal could have many negative consequences.

Over its relatively short life span, KORUS has been particularly favorable for American agriculture, an area in which we enjoy a large trade surplus. Our ag exports to Korea totaled $6.2 billion in 2016, compared to the $519 million in ag products they sent to us. Korea is our 5th largest agricultural export market, and is particularly important for our beef, corn, and pork producers. Terminating KORUS would leave our farmers at a competitive disadvantage to those in other countries that enjoy preferential trade access to Korea. American farmers and ranchers would lose market share, and their profitability would be impacted at a time when they are already struggling with historically low commodity prices.

In addition to the negative impact on our family farms, backing out of this agreement could have geo-political ramifications as well. We should be engaging more closely with countries in the Pacific Rim, and developing stronger trade ties with them. When I visit these nations, I hear overwhelmingly that they would like to do more trade with the U.S., and have their economies more closely integrated with ours. If we are not engaging with these nations, there is another economic force in the region that would gladly step in to fill that void and consolidate power, and that nation is China.

We should maintain and strengthen our ties with South Korea at a time of great tension in the region, and recommit to growing this trading relationship for our family farmers and ranchers across the country. I respectfully urge you not withdraw the U.S. from KORUS.

Sincerely,

 

 

Joni K. Ernst

United States Senator