3:44 p.m Thursday, March 2, 2017 Texas News & Politics
President Donald Trump says he’s going to renegotiate NAFTA, which as a candidate he described as the “worst trade deal ever approved in this country.”
But U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, described NAFTA as an economic boon to Texas, Mexico and the United States in an op-ed in “Politico Magazine” Thursday, and called for the administration and Congress to mend the trade pact, not end it
“It’s now more than 20 years old. Texas and the United States as a whole would benefit from a revised agreement that makes trade freer and fairer,” Cornyn wrote. “By fixing NAFTA, we can address modern-day challenges and preserve and protect America’s unrivaled stability and prosperity into the next century.”
But Cornyn made clear that NAFTA was critical to Texas’ economic success.
“When looking for a model economy, Washington would be wise to look no further than Texas. The `great American jobs machine,’ as we’re affectionately known, has been the economic engine that pulled our country out of the recent recession, singlehandedly adding more than 1 million jobs to the American economy,” Cornyn wrote.
But, Cornyn argued, “Trade has been a cornerstone of the Texas economy, with no partner more important than Mexico.”
“As our largest export market, Mexico has an extraordinary economic relationship with Texas. Trade with our southern neighbor supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in my state and provides more goods at a better price for Texas families,” Cornyn said. ” More than a third of all Texas merchandise is exported to Mexico – meaning our farmers, ranchers and small businesses have found no shortage of customers south of the border too.
“This explosion in trade for our state has catapulted Texas to the top of exporting states in the country for more than a decade now. Thanks to trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement, goods and services flow more freely among the three North American countries, growing jobs across Texas and stretching paychecks further,” Cornyn said. “This isn’t just true for Texas. A majority of exports coming from Michigan and Ohio, for example, are bound for our NAFTA partners too.”
“Texas – where taxes are low, regulations are sensible and trade is encouraged – has proven time and again that we’re a blueprint for growing the national economy,” Cornyn said. “In my state, border security, trade and the economy are intimately connected. So as Congress considers whether to revisit agreements like NAFTA and how to best secure the border, we must take great care to advocate for smart policies that drive growth here at home and enhance our partnerships abroad.