Rep. Cuellar and Sen. Cornyn Meet with U.S. Trade Representative to Discuss NAFTA
Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Congressmen Will Hurd (TX-23) and Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in response to a letter from Senator Cornyn and Congressman Cuellar requesting a meeting with Members of Congress representing constituencies along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), headed by Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, handles international trade and investment policy, including negotiation for trade agreements. In May, the USTR formally notified Congress of the Administration’s intent to re-open negotiations with our North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico.
In today’s meeting, the leaders discussed the modernization of the NAFTA and emphasized that the trade deal is working for Texas and the nation.
Congressman Cuellar has already been working with businesses on both sides of the border, as well as with Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo Gutiérrez and other government leaders from both the United States and Mexico, to see how we can build upon and improve NAFTA.
Regional trade has increased over the treaty’s first two decades, from roughly $290 billion in 1993 to more than $1.1 trillion in 2016.
Additionally, Cross-border investment has surged, with U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) stock in Mexico increasing in that period from $15 billion to more than $100 billion.
“A 21st Century update for this deal is the best outcome for our economy and American jobs,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Some administration officials still publicly threaten to eliminate NAFTA – and that uncertainty affects job-creating businesses in Texas and the U.S. We must work to update NAFTA quickly, especially because politics in all countries
“We’ve already done the work for a new trade deal for the 21st Century with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It would be a great template after which to model NAFTA 2.0. Improving NAFTA quickly will provide certainty so businesses can get back to business.
“Every time the United States takes a step back, China takes two steps forward. American workers deserve access to the global economy. That’s why I supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership and why I want to help build NAFTA 2.0. I thank my friends and colleagues, Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and Representatives Hurd and Gonzalez for advocating for Texas and the border to make sure we continue to have a robust economy focused on trade.”
Senator Cornyn and Congressman Cuellar have consistently worked cooperatively on this issue. In April, the two co-hosted a Laredo roundtable discussion on the subject with business leaders from both sides of the border. Additionally, Congressman Cuellar met with Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray this week to discuss the modernization of NAFTA. Last month, Congressman Cuellar met with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to discuss the subject.