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Flake Says NAFTA Withdrawal Would Be Disastrous For Arizona

Senator Senator Jeff Flake addresses the Arizona-Mexico Commission Summit in Scottsdale
(Photo by Jimmy Jenkins)
Senator Senator Jeff Flake addresses the Arizona-Mexico Commission Summit in Scottsdale

As President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, Sen. Jeff Flake was in Scottsdale drumming up support for another international agreement.

Speaking at the Arizona-Mexico Commission Summit, Flake lamented the United States’ exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and warned of a growing Chinese presence in a vacuum created by America.

Flake said leaving the North American Free Trade Agreement, as Trump has repeatedly suggested, would be disastrous for Arizona.

The senator said he would be in favor of modernizing the trade agreement, which was signed more than two decades ago, "but any efforts to impose new restrictions on our ability to trade with Mexico and Canada will have serious consequences for Arizona leading to lost jobs and higher costs for consumers,” Flake said.

Arizona does about $13 billion in trade just with Mexico each year.

Flake said not only would tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in trade be at stake, but the security relationship between Mexico and Arizona could be affected as well.

"Intelligence sharing, cross border engagement in criminal justice reform, privatization, these things have been good and are improving and we can’t afford to turn them back,” Flake said.

Flake said he was one of 18 senators who had encouraged the United States Trade Representative to remain in the agreement, but the senator acknowledged the final decision will be made by Trump.

Jimmy Jenkins was a producer and senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2021.