Texas lawmakers optimistic about NAFTA future with President Trump in office

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Lawmakers in Washington aren’t worried about alienating Mexico despite President-elect Donald Trump’s comments during his campaign. Trump constantly mentioned ripping up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but many are saying that was just campaign talk.

Congressman Cuellar (D-TX) says President-elect Trump will not be able to singlehandedly derail NAFTA.

"People recognize there are some opportunities where we can improve cooperation," said Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX).

People on both sides of the border are wondering what the U.S.-Mexico relationship will look like with Donald Trump taking over the White House. On the campaign trail, Trump threatened to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, calling it one of the worst trade deals ever. Hurd thinks that was campaign rhetoric, and both sides will work to improve the agreement.

"President-elect Trump has been very clear that he’s not interested in pulling out of NAFTA, but he’s looking to make it stronger and better," said Hurd.

Hurd recently returned from Mexico, where he met with officials and discussing a possible “NAFTA 2.0.” It would modernize the deal to improve the trade of energy, agriculture, and digital goods.

"We can upgrade the agreement and how we can focus on areas that really didn’t exist 20 years ago to make North America more competitive in the rest of the world," said Hurd.

Hurd’s colleague Henry Cuellar (D-TX) agrees that the agreement can use some updates. He says people should be concerned with Trump spearheading the negotiations, but Congress will not let him derail the deal.

"I think a lot of us, Democrats and Republicans, are going to make sure that he understands...that this relationship between the U.S. and Mexico is important to our basic economy," said Cuellar.

Cuellar says Trump is a negotiator, thus there will be no tariff war or cutting of ties.

"He’s going to talk tough and then we’re going to work something out," said Cuellar. "The Mexicans are going to do the same thing. We’re going to get to the brink, but we’re not going to get there."

A senior advisor to Trump says he and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto are regularly in talks.

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