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Valley Congressmen, Businessmen Request Congress to Improve NAFTA

4 years 8 months 3 weeks ago Monday, January 23 2017 Jan 23, 2017 January 23, 2017 9:30 PM January 23, 2017 in News

WASHINGTON D.C. - Several Rio Grande Valley businessmen and representatives were present Monday at Capitol Hill to discuss border business with Congress.

A dozen members of Congress, including eight from Texas, tackled the topic at the border security meeting.

Rio Grande Valley Congressmen Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela were present as part of a panel exploring border business. They also invited business leaders like melon farmer Nowell Borders.

Harvesting produce is not an uncommon site in the Valley. Borders, owner of Border Melon Company Inc., said many workers fear the new administration would take away their jobs.

“Well, I hope we can keep NAFTA moving forward and don’t need too many changes,” he said.

The Edinburg businessman said he employs 1,000 workers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Borders said his melon business does benefit from free trade.

Congressman Cuellar agreed the trade deal should improve.

“We need to look at making sure that the U.S., Mexico and Canada look at this as a NAFTA 2.0,” he said.

Sam Vale with the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company said he hopes the new administration doesn’t follow through on their plans to end the deal.

“Well, I think it’s really important that a new administration is willing to look at this with an open mind,” he said.

Newly elected Congressman Vicente Gonzalez said the deal has also increased employment for the middle class.

“We get back 40 cents on every dollar from our trade with Mexico. In China, we only get back four cents from every dollar,” he said.

Cuellar said President Trump once again changed his stance on the issue.

“He used to say he was going to get rid of it, repeal it. Now he’s talking about making better,” he said.  “It’s a good start. We all agree on that.”

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