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Marshall shares insights on NAFTA negotiations
Dairy, auto industries remain sticking points
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Congressman Roger Marshall was invited to join the Congressional Ways and Means committee in Mexico City over the weekend for the 7th round of NAFTA negotiations. Here, he is joined by U.S Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson. - photo by Photos courtesy of Congressman Roger Marshall

Rep. Marshall leads NAFTA negotiations in Mexico

Washington D.C. — This weekend Congressman Marshall joined the House Ways and Means Committee on a bipartisan trip to the 7th round of NAFTA negotiations in Mexico City, Mexico. This trip came on the heels of Dr. Marshall’s meeting with President Trump last week at the White House, also discussing the importance of preserving NAFTA and expanding trade.
“My colleagues know how hard I have been fighting for NAFTA; I was ecstatic to be invited to join this trip,” Rep. Marshall said. “I represent the second-most NAFTA dependent district in the country, and I was honored to advocate on behalf of our Kansas producers with leaders from Mexico and Canada.
“It is only from having these conversations and one-on-one engagement with our trade partners that cooperation and solutions will be found. We must continue to have these discussions and move a trade agreement that works for all parties involved, forward.”
On this trip, Marshall met with ambassadors from Canada and Mexico, as well as U.S. negotiators and economic leaders.
“The negotiating teams are first-class folks. The best thing we saw this weekend was serious engagement from all countries. It was clear from these meetings that all three countries have a sense of loyalty to each other because we have all seen how well this agreement can work for us. While there may be specific issues where we disagree, all three countries share the same goal of a modernized NAFTA in a way where no one is slighted.”
Congressman Marshall went on this trip with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Ways and Means Trade SubCommittee Ranking Member Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Rep. Sander Levin (D-Michigan), Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska), Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas).

 WASHINGTON D.C. — Congressman Roger Marshall left Friday for a 48-hour turnaround visit to Mexico City where the seventh round of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations were taking place. He returned to Washington, D.C., early Monday morning.
“U.S. negotiators have made an incredible amount of progress in recent weeks,” Marshall said. “They say it’s always darkest before the dawn, and I have to say I saw the sun come out this weekend while I was there. Almost all of the easy issues have been resolved.”
Going forward, the more contentious issues will be tackled, Marshall said. Those issues include addressing protections for Canadian dairy farmers that have resulted in exports from that country flooding the world market. Because of this, dairy farms in Kansas have been affected, Marshall explained.
“A diary processing plant in Garden City had plans to process dry milk for export to China,” he said. That deal that fell through due to the Canadian dairy supply. “Now we have a lot of dry milk on our hands.”
Canadians pivoted from the dairy conversation to the “de minimis” issue, referring to the amount of foreign products that can be taken across the border without paying duties, Marshall said. Not every country allows the same amount of duty-free product to cross borders.
U.S. negotiators have proposed changes to the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) agreement concerning the auto industry. The U.S. proposes upping the percentage of value added in the United States from 62 percent to 80 percent, Marshall said. Vehicles that fall under that percentage would be slapped with duties. The move is intended to grow jobs in the U.S., he said.
Marshall said President Donald Trump’s announcement late last week that he would place tariffs on steel and aluminum hadn’t affected the NAFTA agreement so far.
“Professional negotiators had things wrapped up mostly last week. Going forward, the announcement didn’t help much,” he said. Canada voiced displeasure and demanded an exemption from these tariffs. “But, we should be able to overcome it and move forward.”
The Executive branch negotiates NAFTA but, ultimately, Congress needs to pass it, he said. He added that the Ways and Means committee understands the importance of NAFTA to agriculture.
“I was honored to be asked to join this trip by Kevin Brady, of the Congressional Ways and Means committee, and represent agriculture in Kansas and across the country,” Marshall said.