In this Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence, left, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, right, watch as President Donald Trump shows off an executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact agreed to under the Obama administration in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Several countries expressed hope Tuesday, Jan. 24, that the Trans-Pacific Partnership could be salvaged, after President Donald Trump’s decision on a U.S. withdrawal from the trade pact left its future in serious jeopardy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump wasted little time to authorize a slew of executive orders since officially taking office this week, and one of those orders has Kansas agriculturists anxious.

President Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership on Monday and the move may have cost the U.S. agricultural economy billions of dollars.

“We knew the TPP would be kind of an uphill battle in Congress and both presidential candidates had come out against it,” said Warren Parker, the director of communications for Kansas Farm Bureau headquartered in Manhattan. “So this was not a huge surprise, so we’re in kind of a wait-and-see attitude, but we don’t want to wait very long.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)

“Trade is extremely important to the farmers and ranchers out there — not just in Kansas, but all over the country.”

In a separate interview Friday, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran told KMAN the withdrawal of the U.S. from the TPP creates a vacuum for other powers to fill — and to reap the benefits.

“One of the challenges of that, is that in the absence of U.S. participation in the TPP, we know that China is already making moves in those countries to be a greater trading partner with them,” Sen. Moran said. “And that could be — likely will be — to the detriment of the United States.”

The TPP is a trade agreement championed by former President Barack Obama with the United States and 11 other countries in the Pacific Rim, including Canada and Mexico.

While the TPP was often used by both Democrats and Republicans as a campaign tool during the election, The Hutchinson News in May wrote that most farm groups, including the Kansas Farm Bureau, supported the measure that projected to increase net farm income nationally by $4.4 billion, according to the American Farm Bureau.

In June, Sen. Moran and fellow Kansas Senator Pat Roberts supported granting President Obama’s request for trade promotion authority to negotiate the TPP. It was a rare showing of Republican support for the Obama administration when Democratic support on the issue was lacking due to wage and labor concerns.

“Trade certainly matters to Kansas,” Sen. Moran said Friday. “We’re an export state. It’s estimated that 400,000 jobs in Kansas are either directly or indirectly here because we export things around the globe.

“We need those markets, and one of those places that we’re interested in developing and growing those markets is certainly the countries that are included in the Trans Pacific Partnership. So, we’re very anxious to see what President Trump and his administration does next.”

Moran said the Trump administration may seek bilateral trade agreements, but said the package deal of the TPP was attractive.

“We need every market we can get to help accomplish improving the increase of demand and therefore increasing the price for what a farmer receives for what he or she grows in our state, so it’s front and center.”

Parker said the Trump administration has offered assurance it would.

“One of the things that was promised to the American Farm Bureau federation’s president during the Trump administration and in the transition, was that as he did look at trade issues, farmers and ranchers would definitely have a seat at the table,” Parker said. “And so we are very intent on holding him to that.”

Parker said he’s hopeful trade that has same results the TPP projected is in the works.

“We did support TPP, and if it would have gone on through we would have been very pleased to have moved that forward,” he said. “We knew, certainly, it was not a perfect agreement. But now, reality is here. The TPP is likely going to be set aside and a new version will come up.

“So, we’re very anxious to be at the table to create whatever outcome that is, and to make sure we can get trade back in the conversation and back in quickly, because it certainly is very, very important to agriculture.”

Parker also admitted it’s difficult to know what to expect.

“We’re in a little different ballgame, now,” he said. “This is a different administration that works in some different ways, and we certainly have concerns… again, we fall back to make sure that this becomes a front-burner issue — that it’s not set aside as far as trade for the United States and agriculture being set aside.”

Sen. Moran said the Sunflower State is ready to be a part of the solution.

“We’re willing to work with the Trump administration,” he said. “We want them to know how important exports are to American agriculture and to Kansas farmers and ranchers. And we’ll be encouraging them in every way to try and make certain they make the steps necessary to not lose anything more than what’s occurred so far.”

The post Kansas Farm Bureau, Sen. Moran express concern over TPP withdrawal appeared first on News Radio KMAN.

Source: KMAN Local News