MEXICO CITY — Canada, Mexico and the United States will start to debate their free trade agreement next week. A Texan coalition supported by the Mexican government is already lobbying to protect its interests, and they hope states like Arizona will follow their lead.
The group of 4,000 Texan businesses members and 200 chambers of commerce are launching the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition. They want to make sure the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will benefit them.
Like Arizona, Mexico is Texas’s number one business partner. Almost 40 percent of Texas’s annual exports go to Mexico, and almost 400,000 jobs depend on this commercial tie.
Jeff Moseley is the CEO of the Texas Association of Business and leader of the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition. He says the alliance’s main goal is to guarantee NAFTA will continue serving both nations.
“Trade is between people, and governments provide the ability to do that fairly, so we want to make sure the document is fair and that it’s working better,” Moseley said.
“We, in Texas, are closer to Mexico City than we are to Washington D.C., and culturally and tradewise we have so many wonderful bonds, so the coalition is specifically organized to make sure that’s represented to the decision makers.”
Moseley said he already spoke to Arizona’s business leaders to help them launch their own coalition. He hopes the Texan initiative will become a model to many states.
In a press conference Thursday, the Mexican undersecretary for North American Affairs, Carlos Sada, confirmed Mexico is already building similar alliances with other American states.
“We’ve been authorized by the Texan coalition to replicate their model with other American states, adjusting it to their needs and interests,” said Sada. “That’s what these initiatives are all about: to get Mexican and American businesses involved and help them prosper on both sides of the border.”
The commercial relationship between Mexico and Texas has a trade value of $175 billion. As a state, Texas is Mexico’s main business partner.
“Texas is the ‘NAFTA State’ by all means,” Sada said. “And Mexico is ready to renegotiate the agreement: we want a win-win-win situation for the three countries.”