Montana Public Radio

Daines Tells Trump Montana Ranchers Want Market Access, Not Subsidies

Apr 12, 2018

Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines says he’s encouraged that President Trump appears interested in the US returning to negotiations to become part of Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. And Daines said he told the President farmers and ranchers prefer access to international markets to subsidies that would protect them from tariffs.

Daines was one of several farm state Republicans invited to the White House by President Trump this morning to talk about trade as the US and China are threatening new tariffs and counter-tariffs. The Chinese are talking about a 25 percent duty on imports of beef and other US farm goods. President Trump has said he’ll, quote “take care of farmers,” who are hurt by Chinese tariffs.

Daines said, "the President was suggesting that there would be this, really, subsidies, perhaps that would be redirected. You know, tariffs come in and we redirect those subsidies to American farmers and ranchers. I can tell you what, unequivocally, the leaders who were in that room told the President, American farmers and ranchers don’t want that. They don’t want a handout. They want access to markets. He was surprised by that. He figured they’d be appreciative of that."

Daines also said that President Trump appears interested in re-engaging in negotiations to join the Trans Pacific Partnership. Trump withdrew from those talks shortly after taking office.

"We suggested to the President that we re-engage with the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP," Daines said. "That deal can be negotiated better for the United States, and that would result in significant wins for Montana agriculture, specifically beef and getting access to the Japan market through its significant tariff reduction."

A statement issued by the White House after today’s meeting with farm state senators suggests the President’s position on TPP has not changed. The statement says, “the President has consistently said he would be open to a substantially better deal, including in his speech in Davos (Switzerland) earlier this year. To that end, he has asked Ambassador. Lighthizer and Director Kudlow to take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated.”