Ag coalition writes governors about importance of NAFTA |

Ag coalition writes governors about importance of NAFTA

As another round of the negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement formally opens Friday in Mexico City, a coalition of 100 agriculture groups have written the nation’s governors to ask them to “let President Trump know that you support a modernized NAFTA that maintains and enhances food and agricultural trade between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.”

The groups sent the letter Tuesday just as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross complained at a Wall Street Journal conference that “As one special interest group, say agriculture, for example, gets nervous, they start screaming and yelling publicly. They start writing letters, soliciting the Congress people, and [then] they start screaming and yelling in public. It just complicates the environment and, frankly, makes the negotiations harder.”

The trade ministers from the United States, Mexico and Canada — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo — said in a joint statement Wednesday that they will not attend this round.

“Given the substantive discussions held between ministers at APEC [the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam], ministers agreed not to attend the fifth round so negotiators can continue to make important progress on key chapters advanced in Round 4,” Lighthizer’s office said in a news release.

–The Hagstrom Report