Abbott Extols NAFTA, Calls for Updates But Urges Administration ‘not to Fix What's Not Broken'

AUSTIN -- In his first official correspondence with the country's top NAFTA negotiator, Gov. Greg Abbott extolled the trade agreement's importance to Texas and expressed support for an upgrade but urged restraint in those changes."While there are many areas in need of updating, it is important to not attempt to 'fix' the parts of the agreement that are not broken," Abbott wrote in a Thursday letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lightizer. Mexico is Texas' top trade partner, generating about $178 billion trade for the state every year. After taking office, President Donald Trump began working to renegotiate the trade agreement and has at times threatened to end it. The tough talk on NAFTA has forced Abbott to walk a fine line between defending the agreement that has boosted the state's economy over the last two and a half decades and not offending a Republican administration in Washington.Throughout the renegotiation period, Abbott's pronouncements on the trade agreement had been politically careful, showing support for a renegotiation while indicating hope that the Trump administration would "see the benefit of an improved NAFTA" that would benefit Texas and the country. Thursday's letter marked a more forceful show of Abbott's stance on the trade agreement."NAFTA has enabled growth and economic stability not only for our state, but also for the nation as a whole, and for our neighbors to the north and south as well," Abbott wrote. "As you continue the work of modernizing this mutually beneficial trade agreement, I hope you will continue to recognize the true value of the decades of trade relationships we have built with Mexico and Canada."  Continue reading...

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