Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott has sent a letter to Vermont businesses and local economic development leaders encouraging them to write to the US Trade Representative to ask the Trump Administration to renew America’s commitment to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada gathered in Montreal last Tuesday for the sixth and penultimate round of NAFTA talks, which, according to NBC, are supposed to conclude by the end of March to avoid a clash with Mexico's general elections.
“Vermonters enjoy a close and critical relationship with our Canadian neighbors. In fact, the province of Quebec is Vermont's largest trading partner with $5 billion in trade annually. That's why my Administration has made strengthening our relationship with Canada an important economic priority, and we're already seeing results,” Scott wrote in the letter.
“I have long advocated, along with fellow governors and Canadian premiers, that we should focus on modernizing and strengthening NAFTA, not withdrawing from it,” Scott said. “A recent study by the Business Roundtable suggests withdrawing from NAFTA would result in the elimination of over 4,200 Vermont jobs. Additionally, termination of the trade agreement would cause Vermont's economic output to fall by over $200 million. Our communities and employers simply cannot afford these impacts.”
The governor goes on to ask local officials and business owners to make their voices heard by contacting the US Trade Representative.
“Failing to renew the United States' commitment to NAFTA would undermine our businesses' ability to compete in this increasingly competitive global marketplace,” Scott said.
In a recent article, Forbes (Jan 22, 2018: Trump's NAFTA Withdrawal Threat Is Real) suggests that President Trump's rhetoric on threatening to terminate NAFTA, as he has done off and on since the campaign, contradicts efforts by some Republican congressmen and others in the administration to keep the program, particularly because of agricultural trade concerns. The article also suggests that this could be a harsh negotiating ploy to get what the president hopes would be a better deal for the US and his hoped for outcome of Mexico paying for the boarder wall, or for a way to "fire-up" his political base.