From Texas to Vermont – Governors, Senators and Congressmen Reaffirm Support for NAFTA

February 12th, 2018

Since the sixth round of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations closed at the tail end of January, U.S. senators, governors, and congressmen have been quick to publicly reaffirm their support for NAFTA. 36 Republican senators, members of the Senate Finance Committee, members of the House Ways and Means committee, the Governor of Vermont Philip Scott, and the Governor of Texas Greg Abbott have all recently lauded the free trade agreement.

Their statements and letters add to a growing chorus of American leaders that are urging the Trump administration to not injure or terminate free trade relations with the United States’ two most important partners.

Read below the most poignant statements to further understand why the United States needs NAFTA:

“…nearly 1 million Texas jobs depend upon free trade with our NAFTA partners in varied industries including agriculture, energy, manufacturing and automotive.  In fact, the increased economic diversity that Texas has achieved in part due to expanded trade relationships has provided Texas with economic resiliency in the face of recent oil price shocks.  But these economic drivers face a devastating increase in tariffs should NAFTA cease to exist, jeopardizing the jobs of Texans and other Americans.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has found that nearly 6 million jobs nationally depend on trade with Mexico”

(2/5/18) – Governor Greg Abbott of Texas.

“Vermonters enjoy a close and critical relationship with our Canadian neighbors. In fact, the province of Quebec is Vermont’s largest trading partner with $5 billion in trade annually…withdrawing from NAFTA would result in the elimination of over 4,200 Vermont jobs. Additionally, termination of the trade agreement would cause Vermont’s economic output to fall by over $200 million. Our communities and employers simply cannot afford these impacts”

(2/2/18) – Governor Philip Scott of Vermont.

“NAFTA has driven U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico to approximately $1.3 trillion annually. Whether manufacturers, farmers, or insurance providers, a wide range of industries in the U.S. have benefitted from this agreement and American consumers are reaping those benefits, too. Canadians and Mexicans buy nearly $500 billion worth of U.S. manufactured goods each year, translating to $37,000 in export revenue for every American factory worker, and U.S. agricultural exports to the two countries have quadrupled under the agreement from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38.1 billion in 2016.”

(1/31/18)- Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

“This [NAFTA] is not something to be treated lightly…We wanted to make that point because we don’t want all the good economic news that’s been coming out lately as a result of the regulatory rollback and the tax bill to be negated by economic shock caused by some misstep on NAFTA.”

(2/7/18)- Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

“That [sunset provision] sends a message that you should have no confidence this agreement is going to stay in force…We should send the message that this is going to remain a permanent agreement.”

(2/7/18)- Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)

“Among Republican senators there’s very, very strong support for staying in NAFTA. I think most of us believe there are things that can be improved upon, there are certainly things that can be updated to reflect economic and technological changes. But this has been a very, very good trade agreement for the United States and certainly Pennsylvania, and we wanted to communicate that because in part, let’s face it, the president has at times expressed a lot of skepticism about NAFTA.”

(1/30/18)- Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)

“In our meeting, we underscored that preserving NAFTA is vital for the millions of Americans whose jobs depend on trade in North America, and that weakening the agreement would jeopardize American economic growth.”

(2/7/18)- Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

“I was able to express to him today how important the North American Free Trade Agreement is to agriculture, South Dakota’s top industry, and I urged him to keep the unique needs of this industry at the forefront of the administration’s trade negotiation effort.”

(2/7/18)- Senator John Thune (R-SD)

“The president has made great progress for the economy and it has been enhanced by his signing of the tax reform bill … if we withdraw from NAFTA it will undo a great deal of benefits of the tax bill from the economy.”

(2/7/18)- Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)

“People in my district and across the country are counting on us to get this right, which is why we all have to stay at the table. Congress has the Constitutional responsibility over trade — and we’re committed to fulfilling our duty in close coordination with the administration.”

(2/7/18)- Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)

“Since the implementation of NAFTA, American agriculture exports have more than quadrupled from $8.9 billion to $38 billion annually. This is significant, and is the reason why the agriculture sector now supports over 21 million jobs. Other sectors of our district’s economy are just as affected by trade, especially manufacturing. Since NAFTA’s implementation, we have seen tariffs on American goods come down and more markets open up. That is why our trade agreement partners receive half of all exports of American manufactured goods. The benefits of this are passed on to hard-working families, with the 38 million jobs linked to trade paying 15 to 20 percent more.”

(2/7/18)- Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL)