A congressional delegation headed up north over the weekend to meet with Canadian officials ahead of the next round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations. Here’s what they had to say:
“Our goal over the past two days was to ensure our Canadian counterparts understand that U.S. production agriculture has a keen interest in getting NAFTA done and done right. We have had productive conversations over the weekend with Canadian officials and are eager for negotiations to resume in Washington next week. As I’ve said before, U.S. production agriculture will continue to stay at negotiators elbow throughout this process to ensure their interests are taken into account. This is too important to screw up,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11).
“The trade relationship between the United States and Canada, especially as it relates to agriculture, plays an integral role in each country’s economy. Spending time with our Canadian counterparts gave us an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the deal for U.S. agriculture. I look forward to continuing these conversations to improve NAFTA on behalf of our producers and farm families,” said Rep. David Rouzer (NC-7).
“On so many fronts, we enjoy and respect our relationship with our Canadian neighbors; especially on trade. Overall NAFTA has been favorable for trade to both nations. It has created wealth on both sides of the border. My goal as a member of the Ag Committee is to impress the importance of making those areas that work well, better and those areas that need improvement to correct as quickly as possible. The newly renegotiated NAFTA agreement will bolster trade and lead to increased prosperity for both nations,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (FL-3).
“We are meeting with Canadian government officials, diplomats and private sector agricultural leaders to discuss our mutual interest in quickly resolving trade issues so we can promote commerce between our two nations. Canada is our most important trading partner and we need to protect and enhance this relationship. Over 600,000 New York State jobs depend on trade with Canada,” said Rep. John Faso (NY-19).
“Given that Oregon is one of the top ten trading states in the U.S. and the number of jobs dependent on trade, I felt this mission to be very important. Whether it is the Columbia River Treaty, Pacific fishing, softwood lumber, dairy, wheat or wine it is important for our Canadian friends to know that we need a fair deal. It became obvious to me as we ended our visit that both sides will continue to support one another vigorously, but that the Canadians feel no urgency to come to the table in any of the above. A stronger approach is needed,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-5).