Press

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today led a letter from 18 senators to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer stressing the positive economic impact of NAFTA as the administration considers taking a fresh look at the agreement.

U.S. Sens. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) also signed the letter.

“Given that the agreement is more than two decades old, there are areas in which NAFTA will benefit from strengthening and modernization. On the other hand, efforts to abandon the agreement or impose unnecessary restrictions on trade with our North American partners will have devastating economic consequences,” wrote the senators.

Full text of the letter is included below, and a signed copy is available here.

***

May 15, 2017

Ambassador Robert Lighthizer

Office of the United States Trade Representative

600 17th Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,

We write to congratulate you on your confirmation as United States Trade Representative.

With your rich experience in international trade issues and negotiating trade agreements, we are pleased you are at the helm of the office that facilitates U.S. trade. U.S. trade policy has remained a prominent issue in recent months and it appears that taking a fresh look at the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be an immediate priority.

Among other benefits, NAFTA has led to tremendous growth in U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada, integrated cross-border supply chains that benefit U.S. employers, and more than tripled U.S. exports of goods (including agricultural and manufactured goods) and services. Given that the agreement is more than two decades old, there are areas in which NAFTA will benefit from strengthening and modernization. On the other hand, efforts to abandon the agreement or impose unnecessary restrictions on trade with our North American partners will have devastating economic consequences.

As senators who represent states that see a significant economic impact from trade, we will maintain a keen interest in the on-going process surrounding NAFTA and look forward to working with your office.