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Officials In Texas React To President's Comments Concerning NAFTA

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Texas Tribune
Sen. Cornyn addresses the Senate on Oct. 10, chastising the president and Democrats for stalling bills to open portions of the federal government.

Texas’ Senior US Senator stressed the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA following President Donald Trump’s comments at a rally in Arizona predicting a termination of the agreement.  

During his campaign-style speech in Arizona, the President said that he doubted the U.S. could renegotiate NAFTA with Mexico and Canada and ultimately terminating the agreement would be a likely outcome.  

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Credit Ryan Poppe
Texas U.S. Sen. John Cornyn

US Sen. John Cornyn agrees the trade deal needs to be revamped, but says talk of ending it would be dangerous to the Texas economy.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that a trade agreement that negotiated 20 years ago can be updated because if you think about it, big things have changed," Cornyn says.

Cornyn told reporters at an event in Austin that Texas has become one of the number one exporters of oil and gas and oil and gas equipment to Mexico in recent years.

Ryan Sitton, who serves on the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, couldn’t agree more.  He says in the last five years Mexico has doubled its import of gas and diesel from the United States and adding new trade regulations could slow down those agreements.

“So there is a very natural symbiotic relationship, so I think as opposed to a very defined regulatory framework, I think what we want is both sides of the border not to get in the way," Sitton explains.

Sitton discussed the importance of Mexico to the success of the Texas energy economy during a panel hosted by the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos this week.

The three countries involved in NAFTA began negotiations this month in which the US is pushing for a deal that lifts most trade barriers for American companies.