At their recent legislative fly-in to Washington, DC, leaders of the Illinois Corn Growers Association heard that behind the scenes, negotiators feel that they are making some great progress toward updating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). IL Corn supports modernizing NAFTA. Mexico and Canada are two of our most valuable trading partners. In fact, Mexico became our #1 customer of corn in 2016.
Here are some quick bits of information about NAFTA that came out just this week.
Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch:
“Because the Constitution very clearly assigns to Congress the power to lay and collect tariffs and to regulate foreign commerce, Congress must have the final word on the fate of NAFTA." (Event hosted by the Business Roundtable & Farmers for Free Trade, 3/19/18)
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue:
“Ambassador Lighthizer – last time I spoke to him was last week – I think felt more optimistic maybe that we can get a deal done, and the maneuvering regarding steel and aluminum and those exemptions may be a leverage point that could help [the] NAFTA negotiations move along as well.” (National Ag Day event at the National Press Club, 3/20/18)
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer:
“As the members of this Committee well know, the President directed us to seek significant changes to NAFTA. We have already held seven rounds of talks with our partners in Canada and Mexico, and I believe that we have made a great deal of progress.” (House Ways & Means Committee Hearing on the U.S. Trade Policy Agenda, 3/21/18)
More from the Hearing:
Watch the entire hearing
Opening statement by Chairman Brady
Opening statement by Ranking Member Neal
Opening remarks by Amb. Lighthizer
Also of note is the news that President Trump has officially submitted his request to extend Trade Promotion Authority by three years.