Jeff Flake, Senate Republican from Arizona, has lifted his hold on the nomination of Gregg Doud as chief agriculture negotiator. Flake had placed his hold on the President Trump nominee because he was upset about a Trump proposal in the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
The proposal would have allowed Florida tomato producers to use U.S. trade remedy laws to counter surges in Mexican produce imports. The Hagstrom Report says Flake had secured commitments on NAFTA-related trade priorities from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch. Flake said Hatch is committed to working with him on NAFTA provisions that benefit all American producers.
Lighthizer also committed to meet with Arizona stakeholders who rely on NAFTA and would have been hurt by the proposed provision. Flake says, “Given the importance of U.S. agriculture and what’s at stake for them in the NAFTA negotiations, I’m pleased this nomination can move forward.” Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts says he is pleased that assurances have been given and the path for Gregg Doud to be confirmed as the chief agriculture negotiator has finally been cleared.