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North Dakota, Minnesota leaders call for Canada to be part of trade deal

Members of North Dakota's and Minnesota's congressional delegations reacted to President Donald Trump's announcement of a trade deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA with support and calls to reach a deal with Canada.

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The draft legislation of the $100 billion Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 passed out of the House Agriculture Committee on April 18, but on a party line vote verses the bipartisan support the farm bill usually garners. (Michelle Rook/AgweekTV Anchor)

Members of North Dakota's and Minnesota's congressional delegations reacted to President Donald Trump's announcement of a trade deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA with support and calls to reach a deal with Canada.

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., supported the president's announcement. "(The deal) is one more step in the momentum President Trump has created for better trade agreements with many nations around the world," Cramer said.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., similarly seemed satisfied. "What we've said all along is that we need better trade deals that ensure our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and all American industries receive free and fair access to international markets," Hoeven said.

Like the president, Hoeven added he expects the new deal will pressure Canada into negotiating soon.

In her own statement, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said Canada, "as North Dakota's top trading partner," is key to protecting jobs in the state.

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"The administration should work to resolve the remaining issues with Canada and Mexico," Heitkamp said, "and meet the stated goal of announcing the framework of a final agreement by the end of the week."

Democratic Sens. Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar said in separate statements a fair trade deal is equally important for their own constituents in Minnesota.

"Canada is Minnesota's top export market and any agreement must include both Canada and Mexico," Klobuchar said. "We need to keep negotiating with both our allies on a final deal."

Smith said she has been pressing the Trump administration to "take action against unfair trade practices" for U.S. producers. "I believe trade agreements must be fair and I've pressed the Trump Administration to take action against unfair trade practices and for more export opportunities for U.S. producers," Smith said. "The full text of the agreement hasn't been released yet, but I look forward to reviewing it when it's made available."

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