BROWNSVILLE, RGV – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz says renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement can help open the Mexican energy market.

If that happens, Cruz said on a visit to the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday, thousands upon thousands of new jobs will be created in Mexico and Texas.

“If you look at energy, the opportunities are tremendous. One of the things I am pushing the administration aggressively on is NAFTA renegotiation, using that as an opportunity to open up the Mexican energy market,” Cruz said, in a Q&A with reporters in Brownsville.

“There are vast energy resources in Mexico not being adequately developed. If we use NAFTA renegotiation to open that up that will create thousands of high paying jobs in Mexico but it will also create thousands of high paying jobs here in Texas, because that’s where the expertise is. And energy has a tremendous potential to benefit South Texas.”

Cruz said he is a “strong supporter of free trade and trade with Mexico and Canada. He said trade is not only critical for jobs in the United States but also critical for jobs in South Texas.

“NAFTA renegotiation is a big deal. It could be a good thing, it could be a bad thing. It depends on the direction the (Trump) Administration takes it. If the Administration uses NAFTA renegotiation to expand free trade, to open up the Mexican markets, to open up the Canadian markets even further to U.S. goods, to U.S. services, that could be a very good thing. That could be a very beneficial thing,” Cruz said.

“The energy market in Mexico presents a tremendous opportunity for Texas businesses to help Mexico develop their vast oil and natural gas resources that could produce thousands and thousands of new jobs here in South Texas.”

However, Cruz warned that the renegotiation of NAFTA could end up hurting the Texas economy.

“If the Administration uses NAFTA renegotiation to try to shut off access to our markets, to decrease international trade, I think that would be very harmful to South Texas, to Texas as a whole and to the country. And so, I am urging the President, urging the Administration, let’s use this to expand our trade because that is going to create jobs here in Texas.”

In his Q&A with reporters in Brownsville, Cruz said he was looking forward to coming to the region to see rockets launched into space. SpaceX is building a rocket-launching facility on Boca Chica beach near Brownsville.

“By the way I am also looking forward to being back here in Brownsville when we see rockets taking off from down here in Brownsville. That is going to be exciting and space is a big priority. I chair the Space Committee and have passed two major pieces of legislation expanding commercial space,” Cruz said.

“We can reduce the burdens from Washington on small businesses, on job creators, on infrastructure, on the ports. That is going to benefit Texas and it’s going to create new jobs.”

Cruz had four stops in the Valley yesterday. Early in the morning he was in Edinburg for a roundtable with Valley agriculture leaders. He met them at J&D Produce, Inc. His second stop was in Mission, where he toured the Royal Technologies manufacturing plant and had a mini-town hall meeting with its employees.

Pharr Bridge visit

Pharr city, bridge and economic development leaders, along with U.S. Customs officials, met with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at the Pharr International Bridge.

Cruz’s third stop in the Valley on Tuesday was at the Pharr International Bridge. It was his first visit to the Valley’s top port of entry for truck traffic. There he had a roundtable discussion with city officials.

“With trade being one of the most vital arteries in our nation’s economy and with NAFTA in the process of being renegotiated, it is important that our elected officials’ like United States Senator Ted Cruz, meet with those involved in the every-day movement of both foreign and domestic goods,” said Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez.

“The Pharr International Bridge continues to be the center of trade here in the Rio Grande Valley; crossing over 60 percent of the nation’s produce and $30 billion in United States dollars. On behalf of the City of Pharr and its leadership, I want to thank Senator Cruz for including Pharr International bridge on his stop through the Rio Grande Valley.”

Cruz’s fourth stop was in Brownsville for a tour of Rich Products Corporation.

On Monday, Cruz was in Laredo where he talked about renegotiation of NAFTA. Cruz said he supported efforts to expand trade and open up markets in both Canada and Mexico.

“I think [modernizing and updating NAFTA] could be a good and positive thing,” Cruz said in Laredo. “If the focus of NAFTA renegotiation is expanding international trade – opening up markets with Mexico and Canada, I think that’s a good thing. I have urged the President and the administration to use NAFTA renegotiation in a manner that allows more American small businesses, farmers and ranchers to sell more of their products and that puts American jobs first.”

In Brownsville, Cruz also spoke about expanding economic opportunities.

“My priorities from day one in the Senate have been jobs and economic growth,” Cruz said. “Those are the priorities of Texans all across the state. Texans want more jobs, more opportunity, and higher wages. And we can achieve those priorities by lifting the regulatory burdens of Washington off the backs of small businesses, farmers, ranchers and job creators. By simplifying the tax code, and by repealing Obamacare, which has been the biggest job killer in the country. I am spending every waking moment, day and night, working to deliver on the promises made to the American people and to Texas families.”