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Fight over border wall funding messing with Arizona-Mexico trade partnership

Posted at 8:16 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 08:20:51-04

PHOENIX, AZ — 2018 was a record year in trade between Arizona and Mexico, $6.9 billion dollars, but outside pressures threaten the partnership.

Congress must approve the U.S.M.C. agreement. That is the trade agreement which replaces NAFTA. Speaking at the Arizona-Mexico Commission's Governor's Luncheon in Phoenix, Mexico's Ambassador to the United State Martha Barcena sounded a warning, " If the agreement gets rejected it will send a bad signal for relations with Mexico and Canada."

Governor Ducey supports the trade agreement. He has lobbied fellow governors and wrote letters to the entire Arizona Congressional Delegation urging them to sign on, "as governor I don't have a vote, but I do have a platform and I'm talking about the benefit not only to the United States but to Mexico through the ratification of the US-MCA."

But the politics of the day is complicating Congressional approval. On Monday, the Pentagon released a list totaling nearly 13-billion dollars in unobligated military construction fund projects that could be diverted to pay for the border wall. President Trump is moving forward with his plans for a wall after he vetoed a resolution rejecting his declaration of a national emergency.

Six Arizona projects are on the list, although it appears, Luke Air Force Base will be spared. "Of course I don't want to lose any defense assets," Ducey said. "But we should be able to deal with defense and border security simultaneously."

The Governor believes the federal budget can pay for both security and a border wall. He is calling on Congress to take the politics out of the trade agreement, and do what's best for Mexico, the U.S. and Arizona.