Ambassador Darci Vetter On Future of NAFTA

Apr 6, 2017

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Ambassador Darci Vetter, Drake University alumna and former Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade, about how President Donald Trump’s new “America First” trade policy is likely to affect Iowa’s agriculture and other exports. 

Regarding the president's focus on renegotiating NAFTA, she thinks the trade agreement works fairly well and would like to see it updated, rather than dismantled.

"We already have completely open borders with Mexico and with Canada on all products except for dairy, poultry, and eggs. So if the stated goal is to expand our market access, or to get rid of the barriers to that market, or change the terms of trade, there's nowhere to go but down. So the real question is, 'What are the things about NAFTA that aren't working?" she says.

"I think there's a difference between saying, 'Let's re-do this arrangement,' which could possibly put barriers on our ag exports and other exports to Mexico, or to say, 'This is a 23 year old agreement - can we update it and make it more relevant to the way that commerce moves north and south?"

Vetter will speak in Des Moines on Friday as part of the 4th Annual Nelson Institute Conference on Global Affairs. Her talk is titled, “From Iowa to the World - Economic Nationalism and Global Trade."