U.S. Rep Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) told the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce he is optimistic that a full redo of the North American Free Trade Agreement will soon be announced, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"I am very very confident that at the end of the day it will include Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.," Cuellar said.
A trade agreement announced last month only includes the U.S. and Mexico.
Cuellar says the 'new NAFTA' will take into consideration massive changes in trade which have taken place since the current agreement was negotiated in the early 1990s. He says, for instance, there is no such thing as a car being 'Made in Mexico' any more.
"If something comes in from Mexico, it will have forty percent American parts," he said.
But the place where the 'new NAFTA could do the most good is in energy. Cuellar said with new oil recovery techniques like fracking in place, the three countries of North America could rule the world oil industry.
"If we do this right, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S., we will be the new Middle East of the world." Cuellar said.
Cuellar was joined on stage by Francisco Cabeza de Vaca, the Governor of the Mexico State of Tamaulipas. He downplayed any suggestion that Mexico's President Elect Lopez-Obrador may re-nationalize the Mexican energy industry, as he said on the campaign train he would consider doing.
Cabeza de Vaca says he is looking forward to signing deals with U.S. companies to help develop the massive oil fields in Tamapulipas to increase his state's economy and quality of life for his citizens.
Cuellar said the trade negotiators know full well that if a 'new NAFTA' deal is not done, China is anxious to muscle into the Mexican oil industry, and that will leave the U.S. facing the same challenges we faced in the 1970s, with an unfriendly rival controlling much of our oil supply.