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"Foreign countries interested in doing business with the United States should ignore President Donald Trump and his administration’s more protectionist rhetoric and deal directly with individual states, the chairman of the National Governors Association said Thursday. Speaking at the start of the organization’s three-day summer meeting, Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he understands that “there’s a lot of consternation about what’s coming out of Washington on trade policy.” “I say forget all that,” McAuliffe told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting. “What we are trying to say to global leaders is, ‘Come do business directly with the governors. Come and do business in the states.’” The former businessman’s comments come as U.S. states are actively working with their counterparts in Canada and Mexico to present a united front ahead of the upcoming renegotiation of NAFTA, which is expected to begin next month. To that end, Canada and Mexico’s own subnational organizations traveled to Rhode Island for the U.S. governors' event, and the three groups are slated to hold a joint session Friday on “collaborating to create tomorrow’s global economy.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will deliver remarks on Friday emphasizing the importance of trade to North America — becoming the first head of state ever to address the governors' summit — and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will also travel from Ottawa to attend. The efforts come as the White House is still threatening to pull out of the decades-old trade agreement if it does not get the outcomes it wants in the renegotiation. Asked whether it’s sensible for Trudeau to negotiate with states given the level of anti-free trade rhetoric coming out of the White House, Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval answered that “of course it makes sense.” “It’s a great opportunity, and it’s an opportunity that we have just barely touched,” Sandoval, NGA’s vice chairman, told reporters...That willingness of governors to act on their states’ behalf was apparent throughout the first day of the conference. Various state executives touted the benefits of their own incentive programs and discussed the importance of foreign investment to their individual economies, welcoming international capital that Trump’s protectionist rhetoric has likely threatened. “In this increasingly competitive economy … we’ve been looking beyond our borders for additional opportunities,” Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said at the start of an international investment-focused event hosted by the China General Chamber of Commerce. “We hope to forge more international partnerships around the world.”"

Posted July 13th, 2017
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