Republicans in the Senate are pushing President Donald Trump to finish talks on re-negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement by Labor Day, amid concerns that disputes over the agreement would affect the midterm elections, The Hill reported.
"There’s a real feeling among the senators that was sent to the president that we need some sort of agreement, at least on NAFTA, by Labor Day,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, The Hill reported.
Trump’s placement of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico has led to those countries adding tariffs of their own on U.S. exports, which affects farm states.
For example, a Mississippi poultry farming company, Sanderson Farms, has seen its stock drop 40 percent since December over trade war concerns.
A NAFTA deal would be likely to lead to an end to tariffs on Canada and Mexico, but tariffs on imports from other countries would stay in place, the report said.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said that lawmakers told the president "it would be really helpful" to wrap up trade talks and give farmers "certainty."
"We’d love to see progress," said Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, The Hill reported.
On Wednesday, senators met with Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Grassley said that there was a “real feeling” that a NAFTA agreement would happen during July, the report said.
The White House convinced Senate Republicans to withhold support from legislation limiting Trump’s tariff powers, which Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., had put forward. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the legislation was an "exercise in futility."
Ernst said she would be likely to vote against the Corker legislation. “I do believe our president does need leverage and if he can use this as leverage, I would like him to have it," said Ernst, The Hill reported.
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