Trump is just dead wrong about NAFTA

John Cornyn:
Free trade has taken a lot of hits this campaign season. Candidates from both parties have argued that this core tenet of capitalism should be completely rewritten, if not entirely erased. The reasoning goes something like this: If we open up our economy and cut trade deals with other countries, we run the risk of sending American jobs overseas. That may sound convincing, but those claims are often exaggerated and ignore the tremendous benefits trade provides folks here at home. And it flies in the face of what we've experienced here in Texas and across the United States.

With about 95 percent of the world's consumers outside of our country, in today's globalized world, staying competitive means looking beyond our borders. As the country's No. 1 exporter, our state's producers do that remarkably well. More than 40,000 companies in Texas sell their goods and services abroad. And of those, more than 90 percent are small and medium-sized businesses. In other words, it's not just major companies that benefit from trade agreements but also small and family-owned businesses - the backbone of our communities. Texas is blessed with a diverse economy and a wide array of innovative industries. In fact, our greatest comparative advantage is found in innovation and agriculture, allowing the Lone Star State to export everything from cotton and beef to chemicals, petroleum and computers - to more than 180 international markets.

But trade benefits more than companies' bottom lines - it boosts the pocketbooks of families by creating well-paying jobs. In fact, trade is estimated to support almost 1 in 5 Texas jobs. And international trade doesn't just benefit the exporters. Foreign-owned companies invest and build facilities here too, and importantly, they hire Texans. The Department of Commerce estimates that more than a half million Texans are employed by foreign firms.

One of the best examples of trade gone right is our longstanding economic partnership with Mexico - by far the state's largest export market. According to recent data, Texas sent more than $94 billion in merchandise to Mexico - over a third of our total exports - last year. Our state's trade with Mexico alone supports hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs. In other words, Texas-Mexico trade is essential to the well-being of both economies.

Because of our strategic location and expansive border, Texas also serves as a gateway for trade between Latin America and the entire United States. Texas boasts three of the five busiest land ports of entry, and about half of all U.S.-Mexico trade moves through Texas. That's why it's imperative we have the safest, strongest and most efficient infrastructure available. One report calculated that for every minute trucks sit idle at the U.S.-Mexico border, we forfeit more than $110 million in economic output. Clearly, moving people and goods across our southern border isn't just key to the local communities there. It's necessary to keep our national economy running, too.
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Other Texas members of Congress also know the benefits of the agreement:
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“NAFTA is responsible for increasing trade between Texas and Mexico by almost 110 percent since 2004,” Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, said in a statement.

“Texas leads the nation in exports and benefits from international agreements that put Texans’ goods and services in front of more customers,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, who voted to ratify NAFTA in 1993.

In 1991, the year before President George H. W. Bush signed on to the terms of NAFTA, Texas exported $15.5 billion in goods to Mexico, according to the Texas Center’s Institute for International Trade. By 2015, that had increased sixfold. Last year, Texas’ export industry employed 1.1 million people — the most in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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There is more.

Pulling out of NAFTA would harm the Texas economy and cost thousands of jobs.  Even the imports from Mexico have created jobs, especially in the produce business.  Consumers also benefit by having produce  available when it is out of season for US producers.

I have posted before on NAFTA being a net benefit to Texas.  It is good to see Texas Republicans getting on board.

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