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California Agriculture Leader Optimistic About Trade Under Trump

A nut farm in Central California is shown in this undated photo.
Capital Public Radio
A nut farm in Central California is shown in this undated photo.

From almonds to dairy products, California exports 20 percent of what it produces. Federal trade policy has a huge impact on state agricultural exports. Despite many unknowns, one agriculture industry leader has an optimistic outlook about what a Donald Trump administration would do on trade.

When it comes to what specific policies President-elect Trump will pursue, no one has a crystal ball. Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, says despite the unknowns he's optimistic about how Trump will steer trade policy.

Wenger predicts Trump will consider the merits of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a global trade deal negotiated by the Obama administration that is stalled out in Congress.

Wenger said, "This administration, as they come in, are going to have take a look at it. And if he's such a good businessman he will see this was a good deal."

Dan Sumner is an agricultural economist at the University of California, Davis. He's pretty sure Trump understands the benefit of trade.

Sumner said, "When there's trade, both sides benefit. Otherwise they don't do it."

Sumner said despite anti-trade campaign rhetoric, Trump may just want to put his own stamp on TPP, not nix it.

"I can imagine President Trump asking for a delay on that until he renegotiates parts of it," Sumner said. "And if he can renegotiate what he considers a better deal, great. And he may well be very instrumental getting such a thing through Congress."

If Trump were to help pass TPP it would be an unpredictable ending for a deal forged by President Obama and opposed by Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton on the campaign trail.

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