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Featured, from left: Evan Smith, CEO and founder of the Texas Tribune, J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., Chairman, Texas Transportation Commission, and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Chair, House Committee on Transportation, during a live-streamed conversation from Austin on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Photograph By CURTIS SMITH

Featured, from left: Evan Smith, CEO, and founder of the Texas Tribune, J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., Chairman, Texas Transportation Commission, and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Chair, House Committee on Transportation, during a live-streamed conversation from Austin on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

Photograph By CURTIS SMITH

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Rep. Canales, 55 Texas House members, call on President Trump to drop his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico

Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, joined with 55 of his colleagues in the Texas House of Representatives to urge President Trump to drop his threat to impose tariffs (financial penalties) on Mexican imports to the United States, otherwise the president’s action, which could come as soon as Monday, June 10, 2019.

On Thursday, May 30, 2019, the president said he would impose a five percent tariff on all goods entering from Mexico – and could increase that tariff by five percentage points a month – “unless Mexico stops all illegal immigration into the United States,” said Canales, who also serves as Chair, House Committee on Transportation.

“It is estimated that these tariffs could lead to the loss of more than 100,000 jobs in Texas, with a devastating impact on my community in the Rio Grande in particular,” Canales said. “There are better ways to achieve the goal of decreasing immigration from Central American without dealing a lethal blow to the Texas economy.”

The House District 40 state lawmaker’s views are also included in a Thursday, June 6, 2019 letter authored by Rep. Rafael M. Anchia, D-Dallas, who is Chair, House Committee on International Relations and Economic Development, and addressed to Robert E. Lighthizer, an appointee of Trump who is the 18th United States Trade Representative.

“The imposition of a five percent tariff beginning on June 10, with the potential of reaching 25 percent by October, will be devastating to both the United States and Mexican economies, with particular harmful implications for the State of Texas,” stated Anchia, who is Chair, House Committee on International Relations and Economic Development. “As the 10th largest economy in the world, situated in the center of the NAFTA trading bloc, Texas maintains mutually advantageous relationships with our top trading partner.”

The letter addressed to Robert E. Lighthizer, an appointee of Trump, who is the 18th United States Trade Representative.

The North American Free Trade Agreement is a treaty between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. That makes NAFTA the world’s largest free trade agreement. The gross domestic product of its three members is more than $20 trillion. NAFTA is the first time two developed nations signed a trade agreement with an emerging market country.

(https://www.thebalance.com/nafta-definition-north-american-free-trade-agreement-3306147)

“In my capacity as Chairman of the Texas House Committee on International Relations and Economic Development, I join (Anchia’s) colleagues of the Texas House of Representatives to urge the Administration to reconsider the recently-announced tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico,” Anchia added.

A report released a few days earlier by The Perryman Group (TPG) estimates that a five percent tariff on all imports from Mexico, and related retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, would lead to an increase in direct cost to the United States of $28.1 billion, with a net loss of $41.5 billion in GDP and $24.6 billion in income each year, the Texas state legislators contended.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a period of time, often annually.

“The Perryman Group estimates the overall job loss due to this tariff to be over 400,000 jobs in the United States. Furthermore, they point out that ‘Texas would bear the lion’s share of this loss’ if these tariffs are implemented. TPG estimates that the proposed tariffs would result in additional direct costs of $8.7 billion, likely costing the Texas economy $11.9 billion in GDP, and nearly $7.1 billion in income each year, as well as 117,335 in job loss throughout the state,” the letter from Anchia, Canales and the 54 other state representatives contended.

The letter from the 56 Texas state representatives follows:

June 6, 2019

The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street NWWashington, DC 20508

Re: REQUEST TO RECONSIDER PROPOSED TARIFFS ON MEXICO

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

“In my capacity as Chairman of the Texas House Committee on International Relations and Economic Development, I join (Anchia’s) colleagues of the Texas House of Representatives to urge the Administration to reconsider the recently-announced tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico.

“The imposition of a five percent tariff beginning on June 10, with the potential of reaching 25 percent by October, will be devastating to both the United States and Mexican economies, with particular harmful implications for the State of Texas. As the 10th largest economy in the world, situated in the center of the NAFTA trading bloc, Texas maintains mutually advantageous relationships with our top trading partner.

“Texas serves as the biggest exporter of goods and services in the United States — totaling $264.5 billion in 2017. The volume of Texas exports was larger than that of the second-largest exporting state by more than $90 billion. Texas companies maintain well-developed cross-border supply chains, and a mutually- beneficial trade relationship with our state’s number-one trading partner, Mexico.

“In 2017, our state exported $97.3 billion, and imported $89 billion from Mexico, with an additional 382,000 Texas jobs that depend on trade with Mexico. As noted by Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan, “The trade relation with Mexico has been critical to Texas.” Kaplan added, “If we didn’t have that trade relationship with Mexico, it’s our best judgment at the Dallas Fed that we would lose some of those businesses and some of those jobs, most likely to Asia.”

“A report released this week by The Perryman Group (TPG) estimates that a five percent tariff on all imports from Mexico, and related retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, would lead to an increase in direct cost to the United States of $28.1 billion, with a net loss of $41.5 billion in GDP and $24.6 billion in income each year.

“TPG estimates the overall job loss due to this tariff to be over 400,000 jobs in the United States.

“Furthermore, they point out that ‘Texas would bear the lion’s share of this loss’ if these tariffs are implemented. TPG estimates that the proposed tariffs would result in additional direct costs of $8.7 billion, likely costing the Texas economy $11.9 billion in GDP, and nearly $7.1 billion in income each year, as well as 117,335 in job loss throughout the state.

“Texas trade relies on the strong relationships built with our North American partners, and Texas business relies on the predictability furnished by the rules-based trading framework of NAFTA. The ratification and implementation of USMCA will help modernize and reinforce that framework that was established decades ago.

(USMCA, which stands for the Agreement between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada, is a signed but not ratified free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The agreement is sometimes referred to as “New NAFTA” in reference to the previous trilateral agreement it is meant to supersede, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States–Mexico–Canada_Agreement).

“However, this newly-proposed tariff announcements undermine ratification at home and abroad and threatens the good work done by U.S. trade negotiators. We are committed to working with the federal government to improve our nation’s broken immigration system. However, that issue should be discussed independent and apart from international trade.

“We also stand ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with Mexico on bilateral solutions to common challenges. The above being the case, and recognizing the potential for significant harms to business and jobs throughout the State of Texas by the imposition of these tariffs, we respectfully request that the Administration refrains from imposing these tariffs so that Texas maintains its competitiveness in the global economy.”

CONGRESSMAN CUELLAR HONORED FOR LEADERSHIP IN STRENGTHENING U.S.-MEXICO RELATIONSHIP

On Monday, May 13, 2019, the government of Nuevo León, Mexico and the city of Guadalupe, Mexico recognized Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, during their legislative session for his continuous efforts to develop a stronger relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.

Cuellar was presented with awards for his support of trade and economic development.

During the session, Marco González, the Speaker of the Congress from Nuevo León, highlighted Cuellar’s accomplishments during a ceremony designated as Espacio Solemne. Attendees to this event included Gov. Jaime Rodríguez Calderón of the State of Nuevo León, mayors, senators, federal congressmen, and businessmen.

“I am honored to have been able to speak in front of both the Nuevo León’s Congress and the city of Guadalupe,” said Cuellar. “As a representative on the border, I recognize the importance of enhancing and strengthening our relationship with Mexico. Our economic and security partnerships are essential to the prosperity of each of our countries. I look forward to continuing working together in developing trade and tourism, infrastructure, and protecting our shared security interests.”

Before being elected to Congress, Cuellar served as Texas Secretary of State and as Laredo’s state representative for 14 years. While in the Texas state government, he worked hard to help fund the Nuevo Laredo wastewater treatment plant and supported the construction of the Colombia-Solidarity International Bridge.

In Congress, he is Chair of the United States-Mexico Interparliamentary Group, which is the official mechanism of discussion between the U.S. Congress and the Mexican government. As the leader of this group, Cuellar hopes to improve relations between both countries.

As a senior member of the U.S. Congress House Appropriations Committee, Cuellar has successfully fought to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Mexico’s education, security, and social programs to improve and enrich lives.

Cuellar has also authored bipartisan bills that promote economic cooperation and tourism between the United States and Mexico. The United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act, introduced by Cuellar, will strengthen professional development and economic growth in both countries, with a focus on the energy, health, entrepreneurship, and education sectors.

Along with the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act, he also introduced the United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act, which will help benefit the tourism industries in both countries.

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Charlotte Laracy and Leslie Martínez contributed to this article. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who is the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation, represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County, which includes portions or all of Edinburg, Elsa, Faysville, La Blanca, Linn, Lópezville, McAllen, Pharr, and Weslaco. He may be reached at his House District Office in Edinburg at (956) 383-0860 or at the Capitol at (512) 463-0426. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories which affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).

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