Politics

Cornyn Signals Opposition To Trump’s Threat To Exit NAFTA

Texas’ senior senator said he would support modifications to the U.S. free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. But he warned a pull out could damage the state’s economy.

Senator John Cornyn says he can't support President Donald Trump's threat to pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The number two Senate Republican raised concerns about what a NAFTA exit would mean for Texas in an op-ed, published in Politico.

Cornyn agreed that there is room for NAFTA to be improved. And he repeated his endorsement of President Trump's plans to strengthen border security. But he also noted that trade, especially with Mexico, is a linchpin of the Texas economy. Mexico purchased more than $92 billion worth of goods from Texas in 2015, the most recent year for which the U.S. Department of Commerce has statistics.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray has said Mexico will target Texas and other states for retaliation if the U.S. imposes new trade restrictions on the country. Cornyn addressed the prospect in a conference call.

"For example, I've heard from some refiners that it could, in fact, raise the price of gasoline by 30 cents a gallon," Cornyn said. "And of course, there is the business model of many of the car manufacturing companies that have the maquiladoras, the shared manufacturing experience, American content being assembled in Mexico and then reimported in the United States." Car parts manufacturers employ more than 16,000 people in Texas.

President Trump has blamed NAFTA for the loss of American manufacturing jobs, particularly across the Midwest. He has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the trade agreement, unless Mexico agrees to substantial revisions. However, many economists say that those jobs aren't coming back, no matter what happens to NAFTA.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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