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Sen. Cruz: Texas Farmers, Ranchers, Manufacturers, and Small Businesses Thrive with International Trade

Delivers remarks on key goals for NAFTA renegotiation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today delivered remarks at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to discuss the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the stakes for American agriculture and business. 

Video of Sen. Cruz’s remarks may be viewed here. An excerpt of Sen. Cruz’s remarks is below:

“Texans believe in international trade. We believe in it because we benefit from it firsthand. There are about 2.2 million jobs in the state of Texas that depend on international trade.

“NAFTA has created millions of jobs across the United States, a great many of them in the Great State of Texas. Now as you know, we are in the midst of NAFTA renegotiations. In my view NAFTA renegotiations can be a good thing or can be a bad thing. And it depends what the objective is of the Administration and what the end point is.

“If the objective of the negotiations is to modernize the agreement – it’s over two decades old - if the objective of the agreement is to expand our access to Mexican markets and Canadian markets, if the objective of the agreement is to increase international trade, then NAFTA renegotiation could be a very good thing.

“If on the other hand, the objective of the negotiation is to erect barriers to the U.S. markets, to decrease international trade, then I believe that NAFTA renegotiations could be a very bad thing. Erecting those barriers, shutting off our markets, and as a result shutting off the Mexican and Canadian markets, would do profound damage to the American economy and to Texas in particular. Texas farmers, Texas ranchers, Texas manufacturers, Texas small businesses do well when we have access to foreign markets.

“Now which direction will the Administration go? I will tell you candidly, I don't know. I think there are voices within the Administration pulling both directions. And so, I think it depends which voices will be listened to. I can tell you my voice is emphatically urging the Administration to go in the direction of expanding international trade and opening up foreign markets.

“There are aspects where I think this Administration is already doing quite well on trade. And I expect will do even better, aspects like opening up the Chinese markets.

“We’ve seen China for years putting in place nontariff barriers that effectively close down Chinese markets. I met up a couple years ago with the senior leadership of John Deere. They talked up the enormous challenges, the virtual impossibilities of selling tractors in China. And they described that the barriers they faced were not directly on the tariff fronts but rather were regulations specifying the terms of a tractor. And when you design a tractor to meet those regs, they change the regs. So magically, the only tractors that fit were the Chinese tractors.

“That’s not fair, it’s not right, and I do believe this Administration is pressing hard to defend U.S. interests to say, ‘If you want to trade with America you need to trade in a way that opens up your markets as well,’ that it’s not a one-way street. On that, I am quite optimistic.

“I think the single greatest opportunity for NAFTA renegotiation is energy. As you know, Mexico has abundant energy resources. And yet, because of the long standing political and legal environment in Mexico, many of those resources are not being developed.

“You know, many of you have seen the satellite photograph of the Korean Peninsula. Striking. South Korea brightly lit up. North Korea, shrouded in almost total darkness. And the line between the two, almost as if drawn by the finger of God. It is not a meaningful natural or geographic barrier. It is simply a difference between two economic and political systems. One a free market system, produces abundance, and prosperity, and wealth, and you can see the light from orbit around the Earth. And the other, the failure that is Communism. The poverty, the suffering, the misery, you can see the darkness, again miles above the Earth.

“Well, there’s a similar satellite photo of South Texas and Mexico. Not as many people have seen that photo. The Eagle Ford Shale – rich, rich energy deposits – doesn't end at the Rio Grande. The Eagle Ford Shale extends well into Mexico. And yet, the satellite picture shows, north of the Rio Grande in South Texas, it’s brightly lit up because the Eagle Ford is being developed, and that development is producing jobs, it’s producing prosperity, it’s producing tax revenue, which is helping the local schools.

“But yet, you hit the Rio Grande and because of the political and legal environment, it is far, far darker. Not quite as stark as the Korean Peninsula, but nonetheless a very clear and meaningful divide. So, what I’ve urged the Administration is, use this negotiation as an opportunity to open up that Mexican energy market.

“When I sat down in my office and visited with the Mexican Foreign Minister, he expressed considerable interest on the part of Mexico in codifying the reforms they’ve made recently opening up their energy markets. And my hope is, pushing them even further so that we incentivize developing those resources. Two things will happen if we do that. 

“Number one, developing those resources in Mexico will produce thousands of high paying jobs in Mexico.

“But number two, as they develop the resources, the place they’re naturally going to look for the expertise, for the know-how to develop those resources is the United States, and in particular my home state of Texas.

“Which means, opening up those energy resources will produce thousands of high paying jobs here in America. It is a win-win. That’s what I believe NAFTA renegotiation should be focused on. How can we have a win-win where both trading partners are doing well, where we are producing jobs on both sides of the border? 

“Standing here today, I don’t know which path the Administration will take. I know the Chamber has been engaged. The businesses community in Texas is very engaged, very concerned that a loss of NAFTA and a loss of access to the Mexican and Canadian markets would impose massive economic costs on Texas and the United States.

“My hope is we don’t go down that path. And I think we maximize the chances of avoiding that path if there are more and more voices instead encouraging the Administration to go the second path, the path of expanding trade. 

“I want to encourage everyone in this room, let your voice be heard. Because the Administration is being pulled two different directions - and if your voices are heard in unison, that trade and opening up foreign markets is good for jobs, that’s a message that very much needs to be heard.”


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