ARIZONA NEWS

Mexican ambassador, Arizona governor call for trade deal agreement

Mar 20, 2019, 5:55 AM | Updated: 8:37 am
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, right, hugs Martha Barcena, left, Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S., at the...

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, right, hugs Martha Barcena, left, Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S., at the 2019 Arizona-Mexico Commission Governor's Luncheon Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S. urged Congress to approve the successor to the North America Free Trade Agreement on Tuesday.

Martha Barcena said at a luncheon in Phoenix that not passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will be catastrophic “for the Mexican economy, but also for the border states’ economy in the U.S., and it will also be a catastrophe for Canada.”

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement would rework parts of NAFTA. It was agreed to by President Donald Trump and the Mexican and Canadian leaders but still requires ratification by the legislative bodies in each country.

Barcena said the deal will update intellectual property and labor laws and be a sign of goodwill among the countries.

The ambassador said she expects Mexico to ratify it and hopes Canada and the U.S. will do likewise before summer.

“Because, if not, politics will make it more difficult to make a decision on this,” Barcena warned.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said he hopes election-cycle politics don’t stop Congress from improving conditions at the Southern border.

He said Arizona has its own strike force against illegal immigration and soaring trade with Mexico.

Mexico is Arizona’s largest trading partner, and Canada is third after China. The state did $20.4 billion worth of trade with the two North American countries last year.

“I think we should be able to walk and chew gum as a United States Congress,” Ducey said.

He said he believes Washington can solve the intertwined border problems all at once: “Trade, immigration, ports of entry, infrastructure and security.”

He again called upon Congress to approve the USMCA.

The ambassador, in her first official visit to Arizona, also called for more entry ports along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Mexican ambassador, Arizona governor call for trade deal agreement