Local Manufacturers Suggest Possible Changes to NAFTA

In a picture taken on May 26, 2010 Chine

Monday is the deadline for public comment on the North American Free Trade Agreement, and while there is near universal support in South Texas, some business groups are eager for the trade deal to be tweaked in a way that levels the playing field, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"It would be good if a lot of the things we sent out were not taxed as heavily and if we provided some taxes to some of the goods that come in," Rey Chavez, who heads the San Antonio Manufacturers Association, tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.

'He says, instead of competing against Mexican manufacturers, companies in Texas work in tandem with their counterparts south of the border.  When they ramp up production, so do American businesses. 

 Some parts that are made in Mexico come here as part of the assembly process, creating jobs on both sides of the border.  But Chavez admits a lot has changed since the deal was signed during the Clinton presidency.  For that reason, the trade deal, he feels, needs an update.

"A lot of the stuff that we ship out, depending on where it goes, there is a tax on it. Here, we're not taxing anything coming in from anywhere?" he asks

.An update to a study done by Steve Nivin, assistant professor of economics at St. Mary's University, found that the total number of direct jobs created in the San Antonio economy as a result of NAFTA amounted to just over 63-thousand.  Those direct jobs paid incomes of about $3.8 billion. 

The report goes on to show that, if the trade agreement were to be repealed, it would cost the metro economy more than $5 billion.Public hearings are scheduled for later this summer. This fall, all three countries will sit down to work out the details.  The White House has set a goal of wrapping up the negotiations in early 2018.

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