America is on a trade winning streak.
Over the past five months, President Donald Trump closed the deal on major trade agreements with our four largest trading partners – Canada, Mexico, Japan and China. These four countries alone make up half of America’s total trade, at nearly $2 trillion.
Since last fall, I’ve had the privilege of standing with President Trump at the White House on three separate occasions to celebrate these historic trade victories. Through my membership on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade, it’s been an honor to help secure these trade deals for Montana agriculture.
Montana agriculture drives our economy. These trade deals will help provide us with the boost we have long needed.
With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of America’s borders, expanding trade opportunities is critical to Montana’s economy. When given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, Montana farmers, ranchers and small businesses will win. These trade deals will help open up markets and provide additional opportunities for Montana ag.
Our farmers and ranchers have endured tough seasons and unfavorable market pressures. The patience paid off: these major trade deals give our ag producers much-needed relief and opportunities to expand in existing and new markets they’ve long waited for.
Last October, I joined President Trump at the White House for the historic signing of the first-ever U.S.-Japan trade agreement. I invited Miles City rancher, and president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Fred Wacker, to join me for the special occasion. Fred, standing outside of the Oval Office with his cowboy hat on, put it simply, “This beef agreement is the most significant beef agreement Montana’s cattle ranchers have ever seen.”
Japan is the No. 1 export market for U.S. beef and they are also a major wheat export market. With new markets and a more level playing field, our ranchers and grain growers will thrive under this new deal.
In January, I was back at the White House with President Trump for the signing of the Phase One U.S.-China Trade Agreement. This time, I had fellow Montanan and Cascade County Commissioner Joe Briggs with me.
I was very involved in helping secure the first phase of the China trade deal. In fact, on behalf of President Trump, I traveled to China last September to help further negotiations. I’ll keep working with the administration to hold China accountable and to work on securing the next phase of the deal.
Then in January, I joined President Trump for another important signing of a trade deal, the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, which helps create certainty for our farmers and ranchers and better opportunities with our neighbors. At this signing ceremony, I was joined by Congressman Greg Gianforte and State Sen. Mike Cuffe from Eureka.
This deal is critical because U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada alone is more than double that of China and it’s expected to boost our economy by $70 billion.
These past five months have shown that we have a president who is committed to getting the job done and who will fight for our farmers and ranchers. I will continue to stand alongside and work with President Trump to provide more opportunities and wins for Montana agriculture. Let’s keep the winning streak going!
Steve Daines is a Republican Montana U.S. senator.
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