The Senate’s No. 2 Republican is making it clear: No changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement go anywhere without Congress’s say.
As trade representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico engage in their fifth round of discussions on the trilateral trade agreement Monday, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who chairs the chairs the Senate’s subcommittee that deals with international trade, launched his most vocal effort yet to push White House’s negotiators toward modernizing, not discarding, the agreement.
Cornyn’s calls come as White House trade negotiators once again asserted plans to abandon the deal altogether if the three countries can’t reach a deal to modernize the agreement for the internet era.
“We are confident a new NAFTA will create new opportunities for Texas,” said United States Trade Representative General Counsel Stephen Vaughn at a Texas form Cornyn hosted Monday.
“All of us at USTR… are both aware of and have concern for those Americans who benefited from NAFTA 1.0,” Vaughn said.
“At the same time,” he added, “I would like to emphasize that (USTR) Ambassador (Robert) Lighthizer agrees strongly with the president’s view that the current version of NAFTA is a bad deal for America.”
Thanks to the trade promotion authority a…