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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 20, 20183min361
Global agriculture, both the focus of the TransPacific Partnership and a significant factor in the ongoing negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement, will be the focus Wednesday when agriculture leaders from around the state gather in Denver. The 27th annual Governor’s Forum on Agriculture will lead off with a discussion of how American […]

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Kara MasonKara MasonFebruary 8, 20183min755

Last April, U.S. Potato Council CEO John Keeling sent a letter to President Donald Trump outlining some ways the new administration could improve the potato industry.

Mostly, Keeling said NAFTA could use some work, but pulling out of the agreement altogether would be catastrophic for potato farmers, such as the ones nestled in Colorado’s San Luis Valley where Keeling spoke this week for the 2018 Southern Rocky Mountain Agricultural Conference and Trade Fair.

In last year’s letter Keeling said:

The potato industry believes that potato exports to Mexico could grow to $500 million annually with full unrestricted access for all U.S. fresh and processed potatoes. Those same conditions would produce exports of Canada of $300 million annually. These increased sales would generate additional jobs on-farms, in agricultural processing, in transportation and other related sectors. As potatoes are produced in 35 states these new U.S. jobs would occur throughout rural America.

So, how’s the president doing? Keeling reported to the conference in Monte Vista on Tuesday that while there’s been some major changes in the White House, there’s also a lot of the same.

Alamosa News reports:

For example, he said although congress passed the tax bill, it did so in too much of a hurry and did not think it through thoroughly or give it the attention to detail it required, which resulted in some problems that will have to be remedied.

At last year’s conference Keeling anticipated that the Trump Administration would enact regulatory reform, as that was one of Trump’s goals.

“The Trump Administration has brought a new attitude towards regulation,” Keeling said.

Keeling told the audience a shakeup at the Environmental Protection Agency has been a positive change, as has some related executive orders on regulations, according to the news report.

Another hot topic for the potato farmers at the conference was immigration.

“We need a comprehensive reform, need border security, need guest worker workforce that can work in agriculture, come to this country, work and go home and some way to keep people working in agriculture who might not be completely documented,” Keeling reportedly said.


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 31, 20185min1374
A recent study of the impact on the potential U.S. withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) reported Colorado could lose $2.1 billion in business and tens of thousands of jobs. An analysis last November from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found similar economic impacts. The economic analysis came from the Business Roundtable, […]

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Jeff WasdenJeff WasdenJanuary 5, 20187min1356

The start of a new year brings new resolutions and an optimistic hope for a better year to come. 2017 certainly brought several changes and whether you believe we are headed in the right direction or have front row seats on the Titanic, there are some areas where Republicans would be wise to take note.  This is a great time for Republicans to exert leadership and ownership of solutions that can actually move our country forward and usher back an era of bipartisanship, decency, goodness, virtue and grace.


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandNovember 17, 20172min434
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report Friday that looked at which states would be hardest hit if the United States withdraws from the three-nation North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Chamber has focused most on the hit to American agriculture, should President Trump follow through on his threat to renegotiate or even withdraw from the […]

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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandOctober 20, 20177min351
Heightened border security between the United States and Mexico wouldn’t just impact the flow of human traffic across the two nation’s borders; it also could affect the flow of perishable fruits and vegetables from Mexico into the United States and Canada, especially with the winter months coming. That’s among concerns expressed by agricultural officials from […]

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Morgan SmithMorgan SmithJune 19, 20177min418

Now that the Trump administration has initiated the process of renegotiating the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), let’s hope that this process is marked by thoughtfulness and not rhetoric like the president’s earlier comments that NAFTA was “the worst trade deal in history.” Despite the anti-trade rhetoric, NAFTA has been ...


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 9, 20174min438

A leading voice of Colorado business statewide, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, pretty reliably leans Republican on most of its policy stances even as it tries to maintain good relations with both parties at the statehouse. But there’s one issue — international trade — that divides the GOP itself in the era of Donald Trump. And CACI seems to be doing its level best to influence that ongoing debate with input from the businesses that create most Colorado jobs.

The freshman Republican president’s heartburn over free trade, and standing trade agreements in particular, are well-established. Yet, the business world’s reliance on overseas markets has been a cornerstone of the GOP’s economic vision for generations.

Hence, a case of the jitters among business types following the president’s declaration last month he is renegotiating 1994’s landmark North American Free Trade Agreement. That’s the trilateral pact that opened up Canadian and Mexican markets to U.S. goods, including agriculture. Vice-versa, as well, of course. Colorado commerce has benefited, too.

Today, CACI’s weekly e-newsletter to its many members around Colorado included this message:

CACI is asking our members to add comments to the official request for comment from the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) who will be submitting recommendations to President Trump for areas of NAFTA to negotiate.  Because many CACI members and the Colorado economy rely on our trade partners in Canada and Mexico, we encourage you to share formal or informal comments with the USTR about why these trade relationships are essential to your business.

Diplomatic but clear enough; the business community is worried. This appears to be one area where business and the administration are at loggerheads, at least, for now.

Some Republicans in Congress — still wary of crossing their theoretical party leader for all the usual political reasons — nevertheless have spoken up for free trade as well. Last month, Colorado’s junior Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner voted against confirming Trump’s pick for U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, who is a longtime critic of free trade.

Gardner issued a statement contending Lighthizer’s policies, “could hurt Colorado’s farmers and ranchers.”

The administration had that one in the bag, though; Lighthizer was confirmed by overwhelming majorities of both parties despite Gardner’s vote. There’s no suggestion Gardner’s stance has hurt his standing with the president, with whom he votes most of the time.


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Morgan SmithMorgan SmithOctober 24, 20168min406

In a stunning setback for Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, Colombian voters narrowly defeated a referendum to approve a treaty between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Oct. 2. The margin of votes was 53,893 out of 12,808, 858 counted so it was a razor thin loss. The leader of the opposition was Alvaro Uribe, twice president of Colombia (2002 - 2010 ) and the man who, during his presidency broke the back of the FARC and the violence that has consumed the country for more than 50 years, cost 220,000 lives and displaced as many as 5 million people.