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Eye On Boise

Sen. Patrick, Rep. Erpelding urge feds not to scrap NAFTA, which they say has been ‘a game-changer for Idaho’

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, and House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, have authored a joint op-ed piece urging politicians in Washington, D.C. not to terminate or make substantial changes to NAFTA, saying the North American Free Trade Agreement has been “a game-changer for Idaho.”

“Let’s start with the fact that since 1994, the year NAFTA went into effect, exports from Idaho companies to Canada and Mexico have shot up 800 percent,” the two wrote. “Nearly half of our farm and food exports went to Mexico and Canada last year.  Idaho’s dairy exports have doubled over the last decade.  As a result, the men and women who work our land and process food and beverages contribute to industries that make up about 20 percent of Idaho’s economy.”

In addition, they wrote, “NAFTA continues to boost Idaho’s technology companies.  Micron and Hewlett-Packard have done billions of dollars of business with our NAFTA partners over the last 15 years.  They employ thousands of Idahoans and do business with countless other Idaho companies.”  

“When we say the stakes are high, we mean it,” Patrick and Erpelding wrote. “With so much on the line for Idaho, we are concerned about the rhetoric coming out of Washington as we renegotiate the pact.  Threats to terminate NAFTA or make substantial changes to the agreement are setting off alarm bells all over Idaho.  Should Mexico and Canada retaliate, the effects could be devastating to thousands of families in our state.”

You can read their full op-ed article online here at Idaho Politics Weekly.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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