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Former ag secretary Johanns calls Biden weak on trade

 Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Nebraska Governor and U.S. Senator Mike Johanns sits for an interview with Nebraska Public Media where he discussed President Joe Biden's approach to trade and other topics.
Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Nebraska Governor and U.S. Senator Mike Johanns sits for an interview with Nebraska Public Media where he discussed President Joe Biden's approach to trade and other topics.

Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns says President Joe Biden won't take meaningful action on trade.

Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns says he’s seen enough of President Joe Biden’s time in the Oval Office to believe the administration won’t protect American interests on trade.

The Republican former U.S. Senator and Nebraska governor says trade is not a priority for the Democratic administration.

"I’m not optimistic that we’re going to see a list of trade agreements that have been negotiated or improved or changed or modified," he says. "I'm not sure that it's going to be as aggressive as it needs to be."

Johanns made the comments during an interview for Nebraska Public Media. He says following through with a Trump administration trade deal that demands China buy more American products is especially important because farmers will suffer if the administration fails to enforce trade deals.

Biden said his team would use “all available tools” to fight China’s one-sided practices, according to a March 2021 report detailing the administration’s trade agenda. The president said he would use strong enforcement to ensure the country lived up to commitments.

China has recently pushed up crop and livestock prices. The trade deal helped, but Johanns says an outbreak of African Swine Flu that wiped out the Asian country’s swine production kept it purchasing American goods. China has bought corn and soybeans to feed new herds. It’s also increased pork imports from the U.S. to replace livestock.

The former secretary also says countries beyond China are valuable trade partners. India and Africa stand out to him, and he views Taiwan as a country full of potential Midwest beef eaters.

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