Foreign leaders see nation’s governors as potential allies in trade talks with Trump

7/12/2017 The Washington Post

Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_(cropped)The annual summer meeting of the National Governors Association (NGA) is often a low-key and sometimes sleepy event, mixing quiet policy discussions with socializing among the nation’s state executive leaders. This year’s meeting could be anything but that — reshaped by international concerns about President Trump’s trade policies and struggles by Senate Republicans to pass a health-care bill.

The meeting, which begins Thursday in Providence, R.I., will feature an appearance by Vice President Pence and private sessions between the governors and Trump’s health secretary and budget director. But what also has heightened focus on the meeting is the appearance of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with other officials from Canada, Mexico, India, China and Japan.

The sudden interest in the work of the governors from abroad reflects fears by leaders of some foreign governments about the direction of U.S. trade policy under a president who has sharply criticized free-trade agreements negotiated by past administrations. Those concerns were on display at last week’s Group of 20 meeting in Hamburg and have quickly become a prime topic of interest ahead of the NGA. One NGA official described the interest from other countries as “amazing.”

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