NAFTA Negotiations May Be Kicking Into High Gear

Local News

Farmers in the valley and manufacturers have plenty to worry about these days.

It’s not just tariffs, but also the future of NAFTA.

NAFTA talks have been stalled,but our Jessica Smith reports negotiations may soon kick into high gear. 

Iowa Congressman David Young says his farmers are suffering the consequences of tariffs, and uncertainty about NAFTA isn’t helping. “There is only so much that farmers and agriculture can take.” Says Young. 

This week the U.S. trade representative, Bob Lighthizer, told Senators he hopes to strike a deal with Canada and Mexico soon.

“You’re probably looking at having to have some type of conclusion during the course of August. My sense is that’s not an unreasonable timeframe if everyone wants to get it done.” Says Lighthizer.

Lighthizer met with Mexican trade officials this week. He says he hopes he’ll lock in a deal with Mexico shortly, and that will encourage Canada to get on board. 

“I don’t believe they’ve compromised in the same way the U.S. has or the same way Mexico has.” Says Young. 

But some worry President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs are making things more complicated. 

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says her farmers in Illinois need certainty. 

“They want to make sure our best trading partners, Canada and Mexico and China, remain as viable markets to sell our corn, soybeans, pork.” Says Bustos. 

Young says signing a deal with Canada and Mexico, will help the U.S. address its biggest trade problem: “Let’s use those relationships in an allied way, a strengthened way, to isolate China.” Says Young. 

Lighthizer says he’s hopeful, but he’s not making any promises. 

“I don’t know whether we’re going to get an agreement, that depends on everyone being reasonable.” Says Ligthizer.

Negotiators had hopes to come to an agreement in May before the Mexican elections, but are now hoping to finish talks before the new President  of Mexico takes office.

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