Baugh Attends, Praises Signing of China Deal

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY JAN 20, 2020

It wasn’t just international diplomats and Congressional leaders at a signing ceremony for a new U.S. trade deal with China. Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh flew to Washington, D.C. when offered the chance to watch the landmark deal finalized.

“It was a very important topic not just for Manatee and Sarasota, but also for the entire state,” Baugh said.

The event also capped off several months of involvement in local input regarding the international deal. The White House held conference calls with leaders in agricultural areas and those impacted by trade; Baugh just wrapped as chair of the Manatee County Port Authority.

For the record, Baugh doesn’t know that any change in terms with trade in China will directly impact agriculture in Manatee, but it could have indirect positive impacts. “Speaking to some of our farmers, they don’t do a lot of trade with China,” she acknowledged. “But what it (the deal) will do is lead to China spending millions more in the U.S. That will affect Manatee and it will help boost our economy.”

Baugh’s not done watching trade deals. As a U.S.-Mexico-Trade Agreement comes together as a replacement for the long-maligned North American Free Trade Agreement, Baugh has followed concerns farmers still have about unfair practices by Mexico regarding seasonal crops.

“It will never be 100% what I want done,” she said. “Our farmers have taken hits with trade with Mexico. But while it’s never going to be 100% wonderful, it will definitely help make it better what it’s been.”

Notably, another regional leader, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, has also been involved in trade talks as the top Republican on the House Trade Subcommittee. That’s something Baugh found out about only recently. But while in Washington, she did have a dinner with the Congressman, Manatee’s only representative in the House.

“I’m very proud of how involved he has been in trade,” she said. “It's been great, especially for our farmers, to have him working on this daily.”

Photo courtesy Vanessa Baugh

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