Abbott Defends NAFTA in Second Letter to Trump Administration

AUSTIN -- Gov. Greg Abbott doubled down on his defense of the North American Free Trade Agreement in a second letter to the Trump administration's top trade negotiator, days after the president threatened to end the agreement over border security disputes. In the letter dated Wednesday, Abbott thanked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lightizer for his efforts to update the agreement but urged him to keep intact the rules that dictate which products receive preferential tariff treatment under the trade agreement. The governor also asked to continue provisions allowing investors to file claims against NAFTA country governments if investor protections for fair and equitable treatment in the agreement are not upheld. And Abbott also urged Lightizer not to support a proposed five-year sunset clause in the agreement. "Your work to update and rebalance the agreement will undoubtedly ensure that the next generation of American companies and workers will reap even more benefits from a more just and modernized trade agreement," Abbott wrote. "For that reason, the addition of a five-year Sunset provision to the agreement is unnecessary and will only interject uncertainty into the thriving trade relationship between us and our neighbors to the north and south."On Sunday, Trump threatened to end NAFTA because a caravan of Central American immigrants was traveling through Mexico toward the U.S. border. In a tweet, he accused the Mexican government of "doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their southern border and then into the U.S." He said Mexico must "stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA."  Continue reading...

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