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July 25, 2018

Canadian, Mexican Officials to Address NAFTA at Federal Affairs Summit

By: Andrew Lenderman   Comments: 0

It’s easy to get lost in the daily headlines over tariffs and trade, but here’s the big picture on the North American Free Trade Agreement: Fourteen million American jobs are supported by trade with Canada and Mexico, and farm and ranch exports have increased 350 percent since the agreement was first established in 1994, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports.

Canada is Washington’s second-largest trading partner after China and Mexico is the largest market for Washington apples. More than 125,000 small and medium-sized U.S. companies export to our North American neighbors. That’s why AWB is pleased to welcome senior trade officials from both countries at our Federal Affairs Summit this Aug. 14 in Tacoma.

Consul and Trade Commissioner Lewis Coughlin of Canada and Roberto Dondisch, head consul of Mexico in Seattle, are featured in a morning panel discussion on trade and NAFTA and will take audience questions.

Coughlin and Dondisch will address a topic of enormous concern to manufacturers and producers all across the country.

The presidential administration has heavily criticized NAFTA. American, Canadian and Mexican officials have met repeatedly to renegotiate the trade pact but have failed to close a deal so far. The president has said he prefers to finalize a deal after this fall’s midterm elections. And just this week, the new president-elect of Mexico made positive overtures.

President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called on President Trump to renew NAFTA negotiations earlier this week, Time reports.

“Prolonging the uncertainty could slow down investments in the medium and long-term,” Lopez Obrador wrote in a letter, which was posted to his website. “I propose to resume negotiations with the participation of representatives from Mexico, Canada and the United States.”

Also this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mexico is willing to offer flexibility on NAFTA, while urging the U.S. to also make concessions.

“The whole negotiation has to evolve,” said Jesus Seade, Mexico’s new chief trade negotiator. “After one year, things haven’t changed that much. The controversial topics are still there.”

Earlier this month Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other administration officials met with Lopez Obrador and his team in Mexico City.

The meeting “was terrific,” Seade told the newspaper. Lopez Obrador also praised President Trump, noting that they had both triumphed over the political establishment. Trump returned the compliment.

Tariffs and trade have generated reams of news copy over the last several months. But AWB’s Federal Affairs Summit offers a simple, practical way for Washington employers to cut through the noise and gain a greater understanding of what’s happening now.

This one-day special event is a unique opportunity to hear directly from Congress, trade officials and other Washington job creators. Four members of Congress have confirmed so far, and we’ve built in plenty of time for questions and networking. Please join us at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

Click here to register and learn more.

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