In the News

Charlotte Observer

Political and industrial trade group leaders in Kansas are urging President Donald Trump not to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement, fearing that doing so would hurt major Kansas export industries like agriculture and aviation.

The Trump administration has been in talks with Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA, a deal Trump once called "the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere" during the 2016 campaign.

Republican Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer supports the negotiations, but is among those who wrote to Trump earlier this month in support of maintaining NAFTA, KCUR reported this week.

"We want to make sure that Kansas industries continue to thrive and grow," Colyer said. "We're a very competitive state."

Canada and Mexico are key destinations for farm products grown in Kansas, said Josh Roe, deputy secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. He said that agriculture and aviation in 2016 accounted for more than half the dollar value of Kansas' exports.

Some lawmakers also are concerned about tariffs on steel and aluminum recently announced by Trump. State Rep. Jim Ward, the top Democrat in the Kansas House, worries about retaliatory tariffs.

"Agriculture would be devastated by tariffs or a trade war," Ward said.

During a recent visit to Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran pointed to an airplane fuselage as an item that could be impacted by aluminum tariffs.

"The fuselage that we're celebrating here at Spirit is 100 percent aluminum," Moran said. "(A tariff) has a consequence in the price."

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