At a news conference at the state Capitol on Thursday, the business leaders announced the formation of an organization designed to develop, promote, and grow trade opportunities between Texas and Mexico.
The new group is called the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition and it is the creation of the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Business Leadership Council, The Borderplex Alliance, and their partners and members north and south of the border.
Jeff Moseley, CEO of the Texas Association of Business, said the long-term goal of the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition is to promote a stronger, enhanced relationship with Mexico, and seek a prosperous and positive economic future for Texas. He said the group will represent thousands of businesses and associations across the state of Texas and Mexico and reinforce the message that NAFTA works and could work even better.
“Texas and Mexico share much by way of history and culture, but we also share deep economic ties,” Moseley said. “The relationship benefits both countries economically, and we want it to continue to do so. Our goal is to make sure our voices are heard in any conversations that might impact that relationship and to provide real data from Texas and Mexico businesses to guide discussions at all levels of government.”
Moseley said he met this week with Vice President Mike Pence, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, and U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady and John Culberson. He said he carried the message that NAFTA is important to Texas businesses and critical to the nation’s economy.
“Both the Texas and Mexican economies continue to grow,” said Moseley. “I believe we can come to a consensus on a revised NAFTA, or a NAFTA 2.0, that will benefit everyone and keep those jobs and paychecks growing.”
Moseley added that the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition is mobilizing business leaders from both sides of the border to lift up how NAFTA has been an economic benefit to both Texas and Mexico and to prioritize the changes that business leaders would like to see in a modernized NAFTA.
He said the importance of NAFTA is getting through in Washington, pointing out that U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have written in support of a strong NAFTA, and that Commerce Secretary Wilbur has written that it is important to “do no harm” when renegotiating the agreement.
Jon Barela, CEO of The Borderplex Alliance, pointed out that the decision to launch the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition comes as state and federal policymakers debate the merits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) and the Trump Administration moves forward with plans to renegotiate this important trade agreement.
“By any measure, NAFTA has been an economic success for Texas,” Barela said. “Mexico is by far our largest trading partner, and hundreds of thousands of paychecks across the state—and millions more across the country—depend on trade with Mexico. An improved NAFTA that creates more economic opportunities and jobs between Texas and Mexico can only be positive for us.”
International Bank of Commerce Vice President Eddie Aldrete was at the news conference in Austin. Dennis Nixon, IBC’s chief executive officer, pointed out that in 2016, Texas exported over $93 billion in goods and services to Mexico, representing 40 percent of its total exports. He said it exported almost $20 billion in goods and services to Canada, its second-largest trading partner. He noted that more than 40,000 Texas businesses export goods every year.
“We hope the new agreement will strengthen the bond between the U.S. and Mexico and ensure that companies and workers on both sides of the border are treated fairly,” Nixon said. “A re-negotiated NAFTA should take into account the many changes that have happened, both domestically and internationally, since the agreement was signed almost 25 years ago.”
Justin Yancy, president of the Texas Business Leadership Council pointed out that both Texas and Mexico have seen their economies grow since NAFTA went into effect in 1994. Mexico’s economy is now the 11th largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity, and experts predict that by 2030 it will surpass Germany’s economy. If Texas were a country, its GDP would make it the 12th largest economy in the world. Since NAFTA went into effect, Yancy explained. Texas’s economy has seen tremendous economic growth driven by exports and new production supply chains, which make goods and services more globally competitive.
“Mexico is an economic powerhouse that we should embrace, not ignore. We can’t assume that an economy that big does not have other options as far as trading partners,” Yancy said. “Mexico already has 10 free trade agreements with 45 countries. Limiting the U.S. trade relationship with Mexico will just push Mexico to take its business elsewhere.”
Here is a video of the news conference at the state Capitol:
Launch of Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition!
Posted by Texas Mexico Trade Coalition on Thursday, June 15, 2017
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition, visit www.TexasMexicoTrade.com or follow @TXMexicoTrade and www.facebook.com/TexasMexicoTradeCoalition/