MCALLEN, RGV – Reaction to the news that the United States and Canada have reached agreement on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement has been positive along the U.S.-Mexico border region.

As the United States and Mexico reached an agreement just over a month ago, the scene is set for the presidents of all three countries to sign a new trade deal by late November.

President Trump has come up with a new name for the agreement. Instead of NAFTA 2.0 it will be called USMCA, which stands for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. 

The United States, Mexico and Canada have a combined Gross Domestic Product of almost $22 trillion.

Robert Lighthizer

On Sunday night, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland released a joint statement which said:

“Today, Canada and the United States reached an agreement, alongside Mexico, on a new, modernized trade agreement for the 21st Century: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region. It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home.”

The last sticking points successfully overcome were Canada agreeing to accept more dairy products from the United States and the United States agreeing to keep the existing conflict resolution apparatus.

Here is some of the reaction:

Congressman Henry Cuellar

“I am glad that the Administration and Canada were finally able to come to an agreement on NAFTA. This has reflected what I have said all along— we must solidify a deal that includes Canada, so that we can build upon the successes of NAFTA and strengthen trade relations with both partners,” said 

“A deal that would have left either one of them behind would have created uncertain markets and been detrimental to our businesses. This trilateral deal will continue to spur growth and economic development for all three countries, as it has since its inception over two decades ago. I look forward to reviewing the final agreement in Congress and working with the Administration to solidify this deal.”

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

“I am pleased to see that the United States, Canada, and Mexico have finally come to an agreement on how to update this critical trilateral trade pact. I look forward to analyzing the text of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and bringing certainty and opportunity to farm operators, energy producers, workers, and small businesses in Central and South Texas.”

Border Trade Alliance

“For nearly 25 years, the Border Trade Alliance has been a vocal proponent of the North American Free Trade Agreement,” BTA President Britton Clarke said. “We strongly supported the work by all three NAFTA countries to modernize the agreement to meet the needs of a 21st century economy.”

Paola Avila

BTA Chair Paola Avila cited the agreement’s importance to North America’s economic competitive standing.

“We are extremely pleased that the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have come together on a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that will ensure the continued economic competitiveness of North America for years to come,” Avila said. “We congratulate the negotiators from all three countries for their diligence in reaching this new deal.

“We will continue to make the case to Capitol Hill that adoption of this new trilateral agreement is essential in maintaining sophisticated manufacturing supply chains, increasing consumer choice, and enhancing the overall economic health of all three countries.”

IBC Bank

“USMCA will continue the free-trade benefits that have so positively benefited all three nations over the past 24 years,” said IBC Bank Chairman and CEO Dennis E. Nixon.  “While all parties to the agreement will thrive, Texas had the most to gain from the renewal of NAFTA.  This is a major win for Texas that will also keep the United States, Mexico and Canada economically competitive in an increasingly competitive world.”

Nixon is a member of the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue, an elite group of U.S. and Mexican business leaders whose members address core issues in the bilateral relationship between the two countries. As a part of the Dialogue, Nixon meets regularly with his Mexican counterparts in the private sector to identify policy priorities and engage government officials at the highest levels in bilateral trade issues.

Dennis E. Nixon

“The successful conclusion of these negotiations required a concerted effort on the parts of both government and the private sector,” said IBC Bank Executive Vice President Gerald “Gerry” Schwebel. “The new agreement reflects the hard work of individuals in all three counties to update NAFTA and maintain the world’s most important free trade bloc.”

Schwebel is a member of the U.S.-Mexico Economic Council, which ensured private-sector participation in all rounds of the NAFTA renegotiation process. In that role, Schwebel met with private sector counterparts from Mexico and Canada. In August, he traveled to Mexico City to visit with Dr. Graciela Marquez, the Mexican Secretary of Economy designee and Alfonso Romo, Chief of Staff designee and Liaison to the Mexican private sector for President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as well as Foreign Ministry officials.

“The continuation of free trade under USMCA will have a profoundly positive impact on all three nations, but nowhere more so than in Texas and the border region,” said IBC Bank Senior Vice President Eddie Aldrete. “Before NAFTA, double-digit unemployment was common along the border. The new agreement keeps in place principles that will continue the increasing prosperity we’ve seen since the treaty’s implementation in 1994.”

Aldrete serves as Co-Chair of the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition (TMTC), which represents businesses and associations dedicated to a strong relationship between the two countries. In that role, he led efforts among the Texas business community to advocate for the continuation of NAFTA with U.S. officials. TMTC was founded by the Texas Association of Business, Texas Manufacturers Association, Texas Business Leadership Council and the Borderplex Alliance.

IBC Bank executives have been intimately involved with NAFTA since the trade agreement’s original negotiations in the early 1990s. Throughout the latest round of renegotiations, they have played key roles in cooperative efforts with Mexican business leaders and in advancing common sense proposals for free trade with member of the U.S. Congress.


AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka says questions need to be answered before the national labor federation takes a position.

Trumka said:

Rich Trumka

“The text we have reviewed, even before the confirmation that Canada will remain part of NAFTA, affirms that too many details still need to be worked out before working people make a final judgment on a deal. Our history of witnessing unfair trade deals destroy the lives of working families demands the highest level of scrutiny before receiving our endorsement.

“Added protections for working people and some reductions in special privileges for global companies is a good start, but we still don’t know whether this new deal will reverse the outsourcing incentives present in the original NAFTA. It also is critical that we see what final labor enforcement, auto rules of origin and government purchasing provisions will look like. We recognize U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer’s work to address these concerns, and we look forward to continue collaborating with him and his team to ensure that working people in the United States, Canada and Mexico get the renegotiated trade agreement we all deserve.

“America’s working families want the three countries to go back to the table and finish the work, and we will be right there with them, fighting for rules that will create good, high-wage jobs, protect our environment and safeguard our democracy.”

U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce

“The U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce applauded the efforts of President Trump, President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau and their head negotiators to reach a deal that is comprehensive and reflects modern practices in trade and financial services, protects workers and intellectual property, and upholds provisions to prevent and/or correct unfair practices, and includes a mechanism to review the agreement within reasonable time frames to make sure it evolves along newer market practices, technologies and industries.

“The Chamber looks forward to continuing our mission of promoting trade, investment and good business relationships between the U.S. and Mexico, and our partner Canada under this revitalized partnership, and to work with our members to analyze and adopt this new deal.”

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

Robert McKnight, Jr., president of TSCRA issued the following statement upon the announcement of a trade deal with Mexico and Canada to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

“Trade is vitally important to cattle producers who, on average, send more than $2 billion in U.S. beef exports to Mexico and Canada each year. We are extremely pleased to hear the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will maintain the market access that has been so beneficial to U.S. cattle producers over the last decade. We look forward to swift approval by Congress and the certainty of a bright future with our trading partners.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Editor’s Note: IBC Bank Executive Vice President Gerald “Gerry” Schwebel is one of the speakers at the Rio Grande Guardian’s LIVE at Bob’s show being hosted by Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2018. The other guests are customs brokers Adrian Gonzalez and Lone Star National Bank President David Deanda. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., with the program starting promptly at 12 noon. Tickets for lunch cost $25.