Around Town

Pondering Baker and Pence’s chat on Nantucket

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor, Reminder Publishing 

G. MICHAEL DOBBS

So Gov. Charlie Baker recently met with Vice President Mike Pence in Nantucket and I’m sure many people were curious about what was said between the two officials considering Baker has not been the warmest guy toward President Donald Trump.
Baker was not very enthusiastic about the Trump candidacy more two years ago, which I’m sure could create some awkward moments.
Politics is all about maintaining status quo and forming compromise and that’s tough to do if you have a critical view of the boss.
 Well, the State House News Service’s Colin Young was there and offered the following report:
“Shortly after Vice President Mike Pence touched down on Nantucket last weekend, he and Gov. Charlie Baker had a conversation about the trade deal the Trump administration negotiated with Mexico and Canada. The governor greeted Pence on Saturday morning at Nantucket Memorial Airport when the vice president and former governor of Indiana arrived to attend a fundraiser. Baker’s office said the two talked about the stalled Vineyard Wind project and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Since the spring, Baker has been calling on Congress to ratify the new deal intended to replace NAFTA, calling it a ‘strong, fair agreement’ that would bolster the relationship between Massachusetts and its largest trading partner Canada. Massachusetts and Canada did $10.3 billion in bilateral trade in 2018, including the exportation of industrial machinery, aircraft engines and medical equipment that supports over 200 Canadian-owned companies in Massachusetts and 20,000 direct jobs, Baker reminded Congressional leaders in a May letter. ‘Completion of this fair, flexible trade agreement with our closest trading partners is vital, not only because free trade and strong relationships with neighboring allies are critical for peace and state economic prosperity, but it is critically important for our economy and Massachusetts jobs,’ Baker wrote. The USMCA was signed by President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Nov. 30, 2018, but it must still be ratified by the Legislature of each country. Baker this year said governors were likely to ‘spend a fair amount of time over the course of the next few months trying to nudge that process forward.’ Baker said it’s important to have the agreement ratified before Canada’s election this fall.”

Just how cordial or how frosty the men were to one another is anyone’s guess, but I think Baker was doing the job he needed to do to protect trade and jobs in the Bay State.
Thank you, sir.
 One reason I love being a reporter is that I learned things every day and I learned from this report that Canada is the Commonwealth’s largest trading partner. We tend to think of nations, rather than states, having recognized international trading partners but certainly trade is not just an international issue but one for state as well.
Between manufacturing, fishing and agriculture Massachusetts has a diverse economy and one, in my humble opinion, that requires constant monitoring. These days it’s clear that people in business can not make assumptions or take anything for granted. We need to make sure we have a trade agreement fair to everyone.
 Got an opinion? Send me a letter to the editor at [email protected]

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