Schrader says Canadians not urgent about NAFTA
Following meetings with Canadian officials about the North American Free Trade Agreement in Ottawa, Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., said the Canadians expressed no urgency in coming to the table.
“Given that Oregon is one of the top 10 trading states in the U.S. and the number of jobs dependent on trade, I felt this mission to be very important,” Schrader said in a statement issued by the House Agriculture Committee.
“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,” Schrader said. “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.”
Republican members of the delegation stuck to statements about stressing to the Canadians the importance of the negotiations.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said, “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,” Conaway said. “This is too important to screw up.”
“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,” said Rep. John Faso, R-N.Y.
“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.”
The next round of NAFTA negotiations is scheduled to take place Oct. 11-15 in northern Virginia.