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Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) (C) talks with reporters before stepping into the weekly Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol April 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. Vice President Mike Pence joined the GOP senators for their meeting.
Trump took one major step this week to de-escalate the mounting conflict with the EU amid fears about potentially damaging U.S. tariffs on cars and auto parts imports. After Trump met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday, the pair said they will work toward removing tariffs, reassessing existing U.S. duties on steel and aluminum imports, and promoting more U.S. agricultural exports to the EU.
The pair did not announce details of a final agreement.
Moran has concerns about multiple pieces of Trump’s trade policy ahead of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing he will lead Thursday, at which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will testify. Moran wants Trump to keep the North American Free Trade Agreement in place, saying it has helped to make Mexico the top buyer of agricultural commodities from Kansas.
The president aims to renegotiate the three-nation agreement and has promised to pull out of it if he fails to secure better terms. White House officials have indicated Trump could seek separate, one-on-one deals with Canada and Mexico rather than revising the the multilateral NAFTA.
Moran told CNBC that farmers “need some reassurance” about their ability to do business.
“The circumstances we face, farmers and ranchers face in Kansas, is significantly challenging. It’s dire I would say,” the senator said.
Numerous Republicans and Democrats in Congress have cheered Trump’s efforts to crack down on alleged Chinese trade abuses. However, many lawmakers such as Moran have argued his moves have gone too far and hurt American farmers.
On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the Trump administration will offer up to $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers hurt by the tariff policy.