Former chief ag negotiator Vetter discusses Mexico, China trade issues

Darci Vetter spoke earlier this week at an ag trade symposium in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Former United States chief ag negotiator Darci Vetter says she’s having a hard time understanding the logic behind President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico over the immigration issue.

“Why would we punish the economy and the government of a country that we need to work with us on immigration,” Vetter says. “If we give Mexico’s governments less resources and make its people poorer, do we really think that’s going to stem the flow of migrants who are wanting to enter the United States?”

Vetter says it’s counter-productive to suggest that tariffs are somehow the solution to every problem.

“This is a long-term problem that has to do with the economies of Central America, of Mexico, and the U.S.—and we’re not going to solve it by making enemies. We need to work together on this.”

Vetter says she also has concerns with President Trump’s strategy in dealing with China.

“Our concern is not that we are trying to hold China accountable—I think that’s a good thing. It’s the tactics that we’re using,” she says. “If you start with tariffs and your plan is to ratchet up the tariffs if things go poorly, then you start punishing U.S. consumers as you try to advance your agenda.”

Vetter thinks the U.S. should be working more closely with its allies—Europe, Japan, Brazil and others—to put pressure on the Chinese.

“They face many of the same frustrations with China’s policies. How can we put this on a track to a long-term solution?”

Vetter served as chief ag negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative from July of 2014 to January of 2017. She spoked with Brownfield at an ag trade symposium in Lincoln, Nebraska.

AUDIO: Darci Vetter