Consistency and trust being lost in NAFTA renegotiations, says Vermont governor
The apprehension about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is palpable on both sides of the border, but the trade agreement is too important to lose, according to Vermont Governor Phil Scott.
“There is a lot of rhetoric around NAFTA, a lot of concern – you can sense it,” the Republican governor told BNN in an interview. “This is too important for the States, and for Canada, for us to let this fail.”
The fourth round of NAFTA negotiations is set to begin in November in Mexico City under a cloud. U.S. President Donald Trump continues to threaten to terminate the agreement and Canadian officials have conceded that the talks face serious stumbling blocks.
Scott is confident the NAFTA talks will ultimately bear fruit, but said trade talks need to be treated seriously.
“Let’s take a deep breath and let’s make NAFTA better because it’s been 25 years, [and] we need to modernize, we need to make some changes. But, let’s not throw it all out for the sake of a political argument,” said Scott.
Canada is Vermont’s largest trading partner. The state reported a $2.3 billion trade surplus with Canada last year, down slightly from the previous year. Any reduction in Canadian trade would hurt his state, said Scott.
“We enjoy a great partnership with Canada – particularly with Quebec,” he said. “If we lose any sector of that – we have such a small state – it could have a detrimental effect on our economy. So we are really paying attention.”