The Trump Administration has officially made it clear that it wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. On the campaign trail, and into his first months in office, President Donald Trump has made it no secret that he was not a fan of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
On a recent taping of “In Focus” on KRWG-TV, Jerry Pacheco, President of the Border Industrial Association shared his thoughts on the Trump Administrations efforts to renegotiate the trade deal. He says he hopes the efforts are to improve NAFTA.
“I hope that’s the intent, because I don’t think there’s anybody involved in trade and economic development that if familiar with NAFTA that would say that’s unreasonable,” says Pacheco.
Pacheco says that NAFTA impacts many sectors from consumer electronics to transportation products, and the trade deal has also has integrated the automotive industry in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. He says that a truck made in the U.S. has parts that are from all over the world.
“There’s portions of a U.S. truck made in the United States, some are made in Mexico (assembled), a lot of the gloss products come from China," says Pacheco.
Pacheco says that U.S. companies operate in all three countries (U.S., Mexico, and Canada). He says that the tough talk on NAFTA has impacted the recruitment of businesses to Santa Teresa and froze three major deals for New Mexico that he says he estimated to be around $35 million.
“The Trump rhetoric against NAFTA, and the Trump rhetoric against Mexico was so strong that these suppliers to Mexico’s maquila industry that would of come to New Mexico, because of our geographic proximity particularly to Juarez, decided to put those projects on hold,” says Pacheco.
Tough rhetoric does not only impact major companies being recruited to the border region. Pacheco says that small businesses can be affected as well. He says his group operates the state’s only import-export counseling program with the smaller businesses.
“With the smaller businesses there’s a lot of angst,” says Pacheco. He says companies are trying to figure out where to go from here.
Pacheco says that some companies understand that trade with Mexico makes sense and he says that is a positive sign that companies are continuing to move forward with trading with the country.
On a regular basis Pacheco works with Mexican officials on the federal, state, local level, along with business leaders. He says that he has seen a diplomatic response to tough rhetoric from the Trump Administration from groups involved with border trade.
“We want to highlight what NAFTA has done, and the benefits it’s brought to states like New Mexico,” says Pacheco.
Pacheco says that New Mexico has traditionally been an extractive industry state, a government state, and a tourism state. He says the state needs to develop new industries to get through the economic ups and downs the state may endure.
“Trade with Mexico is our best hope for New Mexico developing good jobs and good industry,” says Pacheco.
In Santa Teresa, Pacheco says the goal is simple and that is to develop a supplier base to Mexico’s maquiladora industry. He says that New Mexico’s sister state of Chihuahua is Mexico’s top exporting state at $45 billion, and that provides opportunity for New Mexico to create jobs, investment, and diversifying it's economy.