We are proud to be the Mid Valley U.S. Customs Brokers Association. As U.S. customs brokers, we assist importers with the correct importation and exportation of merchandise into and out of the United States.

We are also allies with Customs and Border Protection and other government agencies. We take pride in our work and see ourselves as an important part of our communities, international trade, and our country.

We believe in international trade and its benefits for all Americans. Therefore, we stand against any measure that hinders fair international trade as it is disruptive and damaging to our strengths as a country.

We, the current board of the MVCBA, wish to present this general statement about the current state of international trade, our concerns, and suggestions.

– We support measures against countries and companies that engage in unfair trade practices, specifically China. However, we ask for a more targeted approach. We believe that duties across the board are unfair as they do not fully address the issue and creates incentives for further cheating.

– We ask for a “yes” vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement ratification. What importers fear most is the uncertainty that is created by further debate and extending the matter.

– We ask that members of Congress defend the importance of Canada and Mexico as trading partners of the United States. These countries do not engage in damaging unfair trade practices. On the contrary, they enhance United States’ competitiveness.

– We ask that members of Congress do everything in their power to keep the United States market open for Mexican produce. We reject any seasonality clause or similar mechanism that prevents good wholesome Mexican produce from being imported.

– We stand against section 232 duties on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico. We ask that members of Congress do everything in their power to eliminate them and prevent any further duties on Canada and Mexico.

– We ask that the federal government collaborates with the Mexican government to improve security across our border. It saddens us to see investment slow down and some companies preferring other Mexican states due to the fear and uncertainty that the ‘narco’ violence creates in Reynosa and other regions in Mexico.

– We support the improvement and reform of the World Trade Organization to address the current needs of industry. However, we are against the U.S. withdrawing or crippling the WTO’s ability to function. We value its role and we ask that members of Congress support it.

– We support infrastructure projects that benefit our region and keep it competitive. Investment in infrastructure is of great importance to us and international trade.

In conclusion, I want to encourage our members to engage in a meaningful and respectful conversation with members of Congress about these matters and others that are important to them.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was amended slightly from a speech Adrian Gonzalez gave at a meeting of the Mid Valley Customs Brokers Association, held at Pappadeaux in Pharr, Texas, on Dec. 18, 2018. Special guests were Congressman Vicente Gonzalez and Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez. The main photo accompanying the above guest column shows Mid Valley Customs Brokers Association Vice President Adrian Gonzalez with Congressman Gonzalez.