Several pro-trade Republicans met with President Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss trade. Their goal was to let the president know on a face-to-face basis how important the North American Free Trade Agreement is and to keep negotiating.
U.S. officials have taken a hard-line stance in the negotiations with Canada and Mexico, causing concern that the talks could fall apart and Trump would likely then pull out of the deal. Ahead of the meeting, Trump talked about the “tremendous losses” in trade with Canada and Mexico, including $71 billion with Mexico and $17 billion with Canada.
Politico says those numbers are false, saying the U.S. deficit with Mexico was $63 billion and $10.9 billion with Canada.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she made a strong case to Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about the importance of the duty-free access to other countries provided by NAFTA.
Deb Fischer of Nebraska highlighted the significance of NAFTA to ag exports and related manufacturing jobs. For example, U.S. food manufacturers exported $25 billion in products to Mexico and Canada in 2015. Without NAFTA, those products would have faced an additional $3.8 billion in tariffs.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.