Jeff Flake - U.S. Senator ~ Arizona

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Flake Secures USTR Meeting for Arizona Business Leaders to Discuss NAFTA Renegotiations, Agriculture

Highlights disastrous consequences of proposed seasonality provision for industry, consumers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) yesterday attended a meeting with United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and leaders of the Arizona business community to outline the serious dangers posed to industry and consumers by attempts to use the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations to add seasonal and regional components to existing trade remedies. 

Flake was joined in the meeting by representatives of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA), Visit Tucson, and the Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona, as well as several Arizona business leaders who depend on trade. Flake secured the meeting after writing Ambassador Lighthizer earlier this year. 

“I am pleased to have been able to bring key Arizona stakeholders to express these concerns with the NAFTA renegotiation process directly to Ambassador Lighthizer,” said Flake. “The addition of these seasonal and regional components to existing trade remedies within NAFTA would be disastrous for Arizona industry and consumers, lead to needless trade restrictions, and likely prompt economically devastating retaliation. I do, however, appreciate Ambassador Lighthizer’s optimism for a successful NAFTA modernization.”

“Arizona’s job creators appreciate the opportunity to visit with Ambassador Lighthizer today and to make the case for a modernized NAFTA,” said Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer. “The agreement has proven essential to Arizona’s economic success. I look forward to continuing to work with strong advocates like Sen. Flake in urging the administration to reduce barriers to free and fair trade in the future.”

“Members of the FPAA, many of whom export their U.S. produce to other nations, are already worried about the ag tariffs announced by China, which is the No. 3 export market for U.S. agriculture,” said FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer. “Canada and Mexico are the No. 1 and 2 ag export markets, respectively. It cannot be understated how important the agriculture industry is to America. Through innovation and efficiency, the U.S. has been able to feed the world and prosper. A protectionist trade environment is a major step backward.”

“NAFTA is the backbone of the US-Mexico relationship. Thanks to Senator Jeff Flake, we were able to engage in a positive dialogue with Ambassador Lighthizer,” said Visit Tucson Executive Vice President J. Felipe Garcia. “I am glad to see the strong interest from the Ambassador to provide a framework that will support small businesses looking to connect with international shoppers.” 

“Members of my association in Arizona appreciate the leadership of Senator Flake and Ambassador Lighthizer,” said Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona Executive Director Chris Udall. “We also appreciate that they have taken the time to listen to Arizonans who desire a win, win, win modernization of NAFTA.”

Background:

  • On Feb. 1, 2018 Flake released his hold on the nomination of Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregory Doud after successfully securing commitments on NAFTA-related trade priorities from both the USTR and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). To read more about the commitments, click here.  

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