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NAFTA On Agenda For Sen. Jeff Flake’s Meeting With Mexican Senators

The Mariposa shipping port in Nogales.
Michel Marizco
The Mariposa shipping port in Nogales.

Sen. Jeff Flake will meet in Washington Tuesday with a delegation of senators visiting from Mexico, and the central topic on the agenda is expected to be the negotiations for trade in North America that will begin later this year.

The visit led by Sen. Marcela Guerra Castillo, head of the Mexican Senate’s foreign relations subcommittee for North America, underscores the Mexican government’s strategy for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexican officials have approached three key groups: White House advisers, a handful of Cabinet members, and Congress people from the states that do the most trade with Mexico — California, Texas, Michigan and Arizona are among those states, said Tony Payan, director of the the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

Arizona is crucial for agricultural goods traveling in both directions, Payan said.

"Through Arizona, Mexico moves a lot of the agricultural goods for the Pacific Coast and the United States also into Mexico towards western and central Mexico," Payan said.

Guerra Castillo said in a phone conference with reporters on Monday that she opposes any trade tariffs with the U.S. Sens. Flake and John McCain have also been vocal supporters of free trade.

Jorge Valencia was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2016 to 2019.