Minnesota AgriGrowth Council Hosts Panel Discussion on NAFTA
NAFTA Works: Impacts on U.S. Agriculture” Luncheon panelists include: Congressman Tom Emmer, Paul Connors, Consul General of Canada and Gerardo Guerrero, Consul of Mexico
St. Paul, MN – Minnesota AgriGrowth, Minnesota’s leading ag and food production association, hosted an impressive panel of public policy representatives from each of the three nations represented in NAFTA.
“With nearly 50 percent of Minnesota’s agricultural exports going to Canada and Mexico, valued at over $1.5 billion per year, it is clear NAFTA has provided substantial value for Minnesota farmers, food companies, and agribusinesses,” AgriGrowth Executive Director Perry Aasness said. “Today’s forum confirmed the overall benefits of NAFTA to Minnesota agriculture and the state’s economy. While it’s an appropriate time to review and update the NAFTA agreement, it’s clear that withdrawal from the agreement would be harmful to Minnesota’s ag and food sector.”
Congressman Tom Emmer on the importance of NAFTA, “When it comes to NAFTA, Minnesota has a real economic stake in these negotiations as the deal supports thousands of jobs and provides important markets for our agriculture, manufacturing, and energy sectors.” Congressman Emmer concludes, “I am grateful for the opportunity to have had this productive discussion today with Consul General Paul Connors and Consul Gerardo Guerrero and I look forward to ensuring the United States, Mexico and Canada have a trade agreement that is fair for all players and leads to continued success for Minnesota.”
Canadian Consul General Paul Connors said, “Since NAFTA was implemented in 1994, our trade with each other has tripled, and our agricultural trade has quadrupled. This trade is integrated, as evidenced by the top five agricultural products exported to and imported from Canada: Minnesota sends Canada animal feed, Canada sends back calves and piglets, then Minnesota sends Canada prepared meats. An updated NAFTA is critical to growing this trade even further. Let’s get to win-win-win.”
Gerardo Guerrero, Consul of Mexico in Saint Paul said, “Two decades ago we were pioneers in devising an agreement that changed the international trade architecture. This time, we have the chance to be pioneers again: reshape the way we interact, redefine our region, and make a positive contribution to the international trading system. In 1993, México was the seventh maket for Minnesota. Now, it is the second trade partner, illustrating the importance of NAFTA for Minnesota’s growing business. Mexico is Minnesota’s largest importer of corn, dairy products, and turkey; and the second largest importer of soy, pork, and beef.”
Minnesota AgriGrowth Council is a non-partisan, non-profit member organization representing the agriculture and food systems industry. AgriGrowth’s strategic approach to policy development, issues management, collaboration and awareness fosters long-term sustainability, competitiveness and business growth. The organization’s diverse membership provides an informed and respected perspective for key influencers and consumers. AgriGrowth’s industry-wide perspective is essential in a state where agriculture and food is the second largest economic driver. More information can be found at agrigrowth.org or by following AgriGrowth’s Twitter account at @mn_agrigrowth.
Congressman Tom Emmer was sworn in for his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 6, 2015. He was overwhelming re-elected on November 8th, 2016 and is currently serving his second term in the 115th Congress. Tom represents Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District and serves on the House Financial Services Committee. He was born in 1961 and raised in the great state of Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and then William Mitchell College of Law.
Paul Connors, Consul General of Canada, was appointed as Consul to Minneapolis in 2016 to lead the foreign policy and public affairs team covering Canada’s relations with Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In November 2017, Mr. Connors became Consul General ad interim. Consul General Connors is a career Foreign Service Officer specializing in economic policy with a focus on natural resources. He has been posted to Switzerland, Germany, Mexico and twice to Washington D.C. He has served in the Nuclear Policy Division of Global Affairs Canada, including as Canada’s representative on the G-7 Nuclear Safety Working Group, and the G-8 Summit Division.
Gerardo Guerrero Consul of Mexico in St. Paul. He has worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1987 and joined the Diplomatic Corps in 1997. Consul Guerrero has served as attorney in different legal offices within the Ministry, as well as at the Consulate in New York. Most recently, he served as Deputy Legal Advisor in charge of the negotiation and final approval of all international treaties and agreements signed by Mexico. He served also as Deputy General Director for Legal Affairs. He studied law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), received a Master’s degree on international trade legal aspects at Instituto Technológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and a LLM on US Law from the University of Houston.