Senate Hearing Further Establishes The Need for NAFTA

November 21st, 2017

Yesterday, the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness held a field hearing in San Antonio, Texas to discuss the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The hearing was moderated by Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) and featured the General Counsel to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Stephen Vaughn and a panel of industry leaders and trade association representatives.

The event began with remarks from Senator Cornyn who did not mince words in describing how NAFTA has benefited the state of Texas.

“The positive economic impact of the current agreement is no secret. […] The data is staggering and the verdict is clear – NAFTA worked as intended. NAFTA’s impact on the state of Texas has been overwhelmingly positive for both our economy and security.” – Senator John Cornyn

The Senator stated that Texas is the leading exporter in the United States, distributing more than $230 billion worth of goods annually. The ability to export goods duty-free to markets in Canada and Mexico is critical to supporting Texas’ economy and growing jobs in the state. However, the significance of the trade agreement extends beyond just Texas. Cornyn noted that nearly 13 million U.S. jobs are dependent on trade with Canada and Mexico. Withdrawing from NAFTA would result in millions of Americans losing their jobs, especially in the energy and automotive industries.

The supply chains that have developed because of NAFTA allow car manufacturers and energy producers to remain competitive in increasingly tight global markets. It has also established Canada and Mexico as critical markets for American-made vehicles and energy resources such as natural gas and crude oil. NAFTA promotes growth and stability in these industries, which ultimately translates to more American jobs and investment in American communities.

At the hearing, Todd Staples, the President of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, made the importance of NAFTA to the energy industry abundantly clear.

“Our agreement with Mexico and Canada has been fundamental to our economy, keeping our fuel prices fair, and our petroleum and natural gas products both competitive, and favorable. Ultimately, NAFTA has served as the very foundation that has allowed the oil and natural gas industry to see the growth and prosperity it has today, and this has resulted in countless jobs for Texans and Americans, jobs right here at home.” – Todd Staples

This sentiment was reflected by the testimony of Mitch Bainwold, CEO and President of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Mr. Bainwold noted that,

“Since NAFTA took effect, 15 new manufacturing plants have been launched in the U.S. (more than Mexico and Canada, combined) and there has been substantial, multi-billion-dollar reinvestment in existing plants.  These 15 new manufacturing plants have resulted in the creation of more than 50,000 direct and 350,000 indirect auto jobs throughout the U.S.”

NAFTA is enormously beneficial to the economy of the United States, and for U.S. energy and vehicle producers it is especially significant. The trade agreement has enabled American companies in these sectors to expand into key markets as well as continue to be global leaders in their respective industries. Their success carries over to the American people in a big way. From job creation to the revitalization of communities, NAFTA has played a crucial role in supporting the United States’ economy.