Jeff Flake - U.S. Senator ~ Arizona

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today released his hold on the nomination of Chief Agricultural Negotiator nominee Gregory Doud after successfully securing commitments on NAFTA-related trade priorities from both the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Flake, who has long opposed protectionist efforts to restrict cross-border imports, first placed the hold in an effort to resolve concerns over attempts to use the ongoing NAFTA negotiations to add seasonal and regional components to existing trade remedies.

To that end, Flake has secured a written commitment from Hatch – whose committee would have to approve any revised trade agreement – to address those concerns. Flake also secured a commitment from USTR Ambassador Lighthizer to meet with Arizona stakeholders who rely on NAFTA and would be negatively impacted by the proposed provision.

“Given the importance of U.S. agriculture and what’s at stake for them in the NAFTA negotiations, I am pleased that this nomination can move forward,” said Flake.  “While certainly there are areas in the NAFTA agreement ripe for modernization, adding ill-advised seasonal or regional components to existing trade remedies would lead to needless trade restrictions, devastating economic consequences, and likely retaliation.  I will continue to work toward a solution with the Administration and Chairman Hatch as well as utilizing additional procedural tools at my disposal.”

To view the letter from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hatch, click here.