Groups react to Trump’s suggestion that cattle imports be ‘terminated’
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President Trump, during yesterday’s event announcing the coronavirus relief program, turned to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and made an off-the-cuff comment on imports of cattle from other countries.
“I read yesterday where we take some cattle in from other countries because we have trade deals,” Trump said. “I think you should look at terminating those deals, alright? We have trade deals where we actually take in cattle—and we have a lot of cattle in this country—and I think you should at the possibility of terminating those trade deals.”
Trump did not specify which nations he was referring to.
Cattle groups were quick to respond to Trump’s comments.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association pointed out that live cattle imports only come from Canada and Mexico and will continue to do so under terms of the newly negotiated USMCA trade deal. NCBA said it would support a review of the administration’s decision to allow fresh beef imports from nation’s like Brazil, where there continue to be concerns with foot-and-mouth disease.
The United States Cattlemen’s Association said it agrees with Trump “on the need to stem the influx of imported cattle into this country”.
The Organization for Competitive Markets applauded Trump’s suggestion on cattle imports and said it should be extended to imported beef as well.
R-CALF USA commended Trump for his comment, saying “For many years live cattle imports have undercut domestic cattle prices, depriving American cattle ranchers the opportunity to earn a competitive income from the marketplace. Ending live cattle imports will help reverse the ongoing contraction of America’s ranching industry”.