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SD delegation keeps open mind after Trump pulls out of trade agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Without expressly approving or disapproving of President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, South Dakota's congressional delegation said they look forward to working with the new ad...

U.S. Senator John Thune (R), right, delivers remarks while U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R), center, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R) follow Thune's remarks during a panel called "Check-in From Washington, DC" during Dakotafest on Wednesday morning east of Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)
U.S. Senator John Thune (R), right, delivers remarks while U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R), center, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R) listen during an event at Dakotafest near Mitchell in August. (Matt Gade/Republic)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Without expressly approving or disapproving of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, South Dakota’s congressional delegation said they look forward to working with the new administration to promote trade for South Dakota goods.

On Monday, Trump made one of his earliest and more notable moves of his young presidency, deciding to back out of the trade agreement with several Asia-Pacific nations. And while none of South Dakota’s three Republican legislators came out equivically in favor or against Trump’s action, each offered a remark about the decision.

“I am a longtime supporter of free and fair trade that benefits South Dakota farmers, ranchers and manufacturers,” said U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds. “The new administration has said it will seek to negotiate better trade deals for American manufacturers and producers. I support that effort and any effort that would improve our ability to trade South Dakota goods and services around the world.”

The TPP had not yet been approved by Congress, but the plan was backed by President Barack Obama’s administration. And in 2015, Rounds, U.S. Sen. John Thune and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem told The Daily Republic they approved of the agreement.

Along with the U.S., the TPP was to include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, a group of countries that represent approximately 40 percent of the global gross domestic product. The agreement would eliminate tariffs and barriers to participating nations to promote trade among the partners.

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On Monday, Thune and Noem offered similar responses following Trump’s formal withdrawal.

“I look forward to working with the Trump administration to pursue new trade deals that open markets for South Dakota products, especially our agriculture products, and ensure that American producers have the ability to compete on a level playing field in the global marketplace,” Thune said.

Noem offered a similar sentiment, but also noted that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States, which she said creates “new opportunities” for Americans.

And Noem expressed optimism in working with the new administration in a variety of different policy areas.

“I look forward to working with the Trump administration on trade agreements, health care and economic policies, and tax reform efforts that expand job creation, enable upward mobility and build prosperity for South Dakotans from all walks of life,” Noem said.

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