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Trade concerns among issues McMorris Rodgers hears in the Valley

August 3, 2017 GMT

In a state as dependent on foreign trade as Washington, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers says she regularly hears concerns from farmers, small businesses and large corporations as she travels around her district.

She heard it again Wednesday – along with questions about health care, taxes and government regulations – during a discussion with members of the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. Kevin Person, chief executive officer of Wagstaff Corp., said his aluminum casting business exports 85 percent of its products, and he’s concerned the Trump administration isn’t handling trade discussions in “a professional, even-handed manner.”

Wagstaff has customers in China and Russia.

“When threats arise, that’s a concern for us,” Person said.

McMorris Rodgers said she’s brought those concerns to President Trump as he announced he was pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership and wants to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement.

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In a later interview, the Spokane Republican said she has talked with U.S. trade representatives who assured her that work has started on new negotiations. But Trump prefers bilateral trade agreements, rather than multi-country deals, she added.

“I was one of the the people raising my voice to the president we need these trade agreements. We need to get going on it,” she said.