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FactChecking Trump’s Pitch to Farmers

In his much publicized visit to Iowa, President Donald Trump made a few false and misleading statements about agricultural exports:

  • Trump touted an agreement with Japan on U.S. beef exports, but he wrongly claimed, “They haven’t bought our beef since the year 2000.” U.S. beef exports to Japan have exceeded $1 billion every year since 2012, and Japan has been the largest export market for U.S. beef since 2013.
  • Trump cherry-picked figures to claim a drop of “over $22 billion” in agricultural exports during the last two years of the Obama administration. But the decrease, driven primarily by a decline in commodity prices, was actually $15.3 billion. It also masks the overall increase in export values under Trump’s predecessor.
  • The president also wrongly claimed that the North American Free Trade Agreement has hurt U.S. farmers “so badly over a 15-year period.” U.S. farmers have had some tough times in recent years, but not over a 15-year period and not because of trade. In fact, the share of U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico has doubled since NAFTA took effect.
Japan and U.S. Beef

The president visited Iowa on June 11, the same day former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in the state. Trump, who won Iowa by points in 2016, touted his record on farming issues and took aim at the policies of in the Democratic presidential field.

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