The Canadian Consul General to Minneapolis says Canada is optimistic about the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Paul Connors was in Bismarck to speak to the Chamber of Commerce.

In an interview with Prairie Public, Connors said the negotiation is very technical in nature, and a lot of hard work for the negotiators from Canada, Mexico and the US. He said the work is going very well – in terms of making the agreement better.

'NAFTA' renegotiations begin

Aug 18, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Canada, Mexico and the United States have begun NAFTA negotiations.

Corn farmers in the Plains and Midwest are lobbying for the status quo.

Mexico, in particular, has become a big customer of American corn, but the Trump administration is looking to modify NAFTA to aid the manufacturing industry. Jon Doggett of the National Corn Growers Association said that puts everything up for discussion.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Around 200 people held a rally in downtown Bismarck, outside the Guy Federal Building.

They protested the new Trans Pacific Partnership Trade agreement. They carried signs, and chanted "TPP has got to go."

“We got labor groups, we’ve got union members, we’ve got faith groups here," said North Dakota AFL-CIO president Waylon Hedegaard. "We have people who represent a lot of different groups in the city and in the state.”

Waylon Hedegaard says although to TPP supporters  it is a good deal, it isn’t. And he says the American worker will suffer.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says he believes there’s a lot of opportunity for North Dakota to sell agricultural products to Cuba.

Goehring led a trade delegation to Cuba last week. He says things have changed – a lot – since he was there in 2010.

"We're talking about a country that only produces 40 percent of their caloric needs," said Goehring. "And because of tourism, it has to import 80 percent of their food. We believe we have quite an opportunity as we move forward."

Japanese ambassador visits ND

Aug 1, 2012
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Japanese ambassador to the United Statessays there are opportunities for expanded trade with North Dakota.

Ichiro Fujisaki visited Bismarck and Grand Forks. He met with Gov. Jack Dalrymple in Bismarck, and the two leaders talked trade. Fujisaki says there are enhanced trade opportunities with North Dakota– and one area could be liquefied natural gas.

"I think it takes a while to do that," Fujisaki told Bismarck reporters. "The US has never exported oil and gas to Japan. I can not say that we will, but it is a possibility."