EDINBURG, RGV – The government of the United States lost the opportunity to negotiate with Mexico on the issue of insecurity because there is no known formal agreement inserted to NAFTA/USMCA.

That is the view of Congressman Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen.

“For me, I think this was an opportunity that was lost, if we got this agreement finalized without talking about the security issue in Mexico”, Gonzalez said.

“At the end of the day we talk about taxes and tariffs and when there is insecurity like the one that exists in Mexico, the American companies that are doing business in Mexico and even the Mexican companies, have security expenses that for example you don’t have in Canada.”

Congressman Gonzalez was interviewed by a reporter with the Rio Grande Guardian about the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“So in the end, it is an expense that you can see as a tariff or as a tax, as it is, but it is what prevents trade and is something that has to be solved,” Gonzalez said.

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez insisted the insecurity issue in Mexico is of paramount importance.

“We have to keep putting pressure on the Mexican government and on the state governments around the border,” Gonzalez said.

He said he is confident that the incoming López Obrador government will do something about it.

“I was with the cabinet of Andrés Manuel López Obrador talking about the security issue. I think it is a very important issue for those of us who live on the border and I believe that they intend to make changes to improve security in Mexico,” he explained.

He said he expects, just like many residents of the border, to cross to the other side in Mexico without worrying about insecurity.

“I have faith that we can go back to those times and one day we will live it,” he said.

Gonzalez said President Trump has 60 days to sign the NAFTA/USMCA and then it will go to the Congress to be voted on.

He said one of the greatest achievements of the agreement has to do with the automotive sector.

Gonzalez pointed out that the percentage of vehicles that have to be assembled in North America increased from 64.5 percent to 75 percent and Mexico will have to pay an average of $16 dollars an hour to its auto workers.

“Anyway, it is below the salary that is paid in the automotive sector for example here in Michigan, but it makes us more competitive,” Gonzalez said.

“It also makes the labor sector in the United States more competitive, the unions that protect that group of employees, I think they put enough pressure for it to improve.”