NAFTA

Two of the nation’s most influential players in agriculture policy, at a meeting in the heart of the country’s Grain Belt on Wednesday, tried to ease worries about the pending farm bill and a budding trade war with China.

Harvest Public Media/File photo

Kansas politicians are closely watching developing trade policies with an eye to whether they could start a trade war that might hurt industries in the state that rely on exports.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File Photo

After pushing for changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), President Donald Trump earlier this year kicked off negotiations among the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Any major changes to the agreement could have a big impact on Kansas.

Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Jerry Moran have said they’re open to updates but emphasize that the agreement needs to preserve or expand export opportunities.

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

There’ve been five rounds of negotiations over the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement in recent months, but little movement toward a re-imagining of the treaty with Canada and Mexico from which U.S. agriculture benefits greatly.

With President Donald Trump still threatening to pull the country out of NAFTA if his preferred updates aren’t made, senators in farm-intensive states increasingly are speaking out.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Business leaders and members of Kansas’ congressional delegation are supportive of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

Speaking at a summit hosted by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce in Wichita Friday, District 4 Rep. Ron Estes said he wants to modernize NAFTA in a way that keeps the “good parts” of the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Estes said Trump’s statements have begun to focus more on free and fair trade, instead of tearing up agreements.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas wants to see the North American Free Trade Agreement improved, but not terminated.

Roberts says he supports modernizing and fixing NAFTA, but he doesn’t want to do away with the trade pact.

Agricultural products are among the state’s top ten export commodities, and Canada and Mexico are consistently the top two export markets for Kansas.

Roberts is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. He says he spoke to President Donald Trump about NAFTA recently.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Farms and ranches throughout the country won’t see their labor shortages solved by a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In a call with reporters while visiting Mexico ahead of the trade talks, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said labor issues likely wouldn’t be addressed during formal negotiations among the United States, Mexico and Canada, set to begin August 16th.

FILE: ABBIE FENTRESS SWANSON / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

As the Trump administration takes the initial steps toward renegotiating one of the country’s most influential and controversial trade deals, groups that represent farmers and ranchers are already waving a caution sign.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas is working to help preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The Republican senator wants the Trump administration to revamp the agreement, not end it.

Sen. Moran and two other Republican senators sent a letter in support of NAFTA to new U.S Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who was confirmed by the Senate Thursday.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Rural voters overwhelmingly chose President Donald Trump in the presidential election. But when it comes to the central campaign promise to get tough on trade, rural voters are not necessarily in sync with the administration.