Moseley, left, and Sada: Texas is the NAFTA state. Moseley, left, and Sada: Texas is the NAFTA state.

Texas businesses form pro-trade coalition

Lobbying group formed in preparation for next week's NAFTA talks

With support from the Mexican government, businesses in Texas are gearing up to protect their interests in preparation for the start of trilateral trade talks next week.

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With the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on the table, 4,000 businesses and 200 chambers of commerce have launched the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition to make sure they benefit from the negotiations.

Mexico is Texas’s biggest trade partner: almost 40% of its exports go to Mexico, a commercial relationship that supports nearly 400,000 jobs.

The CEO of the Texas Association of Business and the head of the new coalition says the alliance’s main goal is to guarantee that 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,” said Jeff Moseley.

“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.”

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Texans are hoping that Arizona — for which Mexico is also its chief trade partner — will follow their lead, a move that would also please Mexico.

“We’ve been authorized by the Texan coalition to replicate their model with other American states, adjusting it to their needs and interests,” said Carlos Sada, Mexico’s undersecretary for North American affairs. “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 value of Mexico-Texas trade is estimated at US $175 billion a year. “Texas,” says Sada, “is the NAFTA state, by all means.”

Representatives from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada will gather in Washington Wednesday to begin negotiations.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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