The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce submitted written testimony to the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has Congressional jurisdiction over trade. The testimony is in support of the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is an issue that the Chamber has been advocating for, as the agreement is soon to be renegotiated. Our focus was to provide updates to a few key industries to the San Antonio area: retails/consumer goods, infrastructure, and energy.
This is the second opportunity the Chamber has seized in order to raise our members’ largest trade concerns with the federal government. In June, the Chamber submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), who will lead negotiations for the US during the process. This is the first time the trade agreement has been opened for discussion since its signing in 1993. The federal government recently released their objectives, which cover many of the issues on which we provided comments.
The Chamber has led meetings with our interested members to establish our priorities as well as organize our advocacy efforts. This second submission follows a luncheon we co-hosted with the Free Trade Alliance of San Antonio (FTA) on July 21 with special guests, Representatives Henry Cuellar and Will Hurd. The discussion was moderated by KLRN’s Rick Casey, and the sold-out event focused on “NAFTA 2.0,” the soon-to-be-updated agreement.
The first round of negotiations will take place in Washington, DC on August 16-20, 2017. John Melle, Assistant USTR, will be the US’s lead negotiator during this process. There will be a number of rounds, and the San Antonio community is pushing for one of those to be held here. In addition, local leaders, including the Chamber, will continue to advocate for NAFTA 2.0 to be signed in San Antonio.
The Chamber will remain engaged and will keep our members informed of our efforts during this key period.