AUSTIN, Texas — Mexican officials are calling on Texas lawmakers to defend the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Known as NAFTA, the trade deal has come under fire from President Trump. But the Consul General of Mexico in Austin testified to the state's Committee on International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs Monday, saying Texas has benefited from the agreement.
"There is simply too much at stake for Texas to remain at the sidelines," said Mexican Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez.
Mexican Consul General Gutierrez: "If NAFTA were to collapse....Texas would pay a very steep price."— Max Gorden (@Max_Gorden) March 6, 2017
According to the Consul General, Texas is Mexico's largest global trade partner, resulting in billions of annual trade and hundreds of thousands of jobs created on both sides of the border.
Lawmakers appeared to be receptive to defending NAFTA.
"I think we have the potential to do some exciting things," said Republican Representative Mark Keough.
President Trump has proposed implementing up to a 20 percent tariff on the border — a move that could have the potential to pinch businesses in both the US and Mexico.
But Nick Barreiro of Clay Imports in Austin said numbers weren't foremost in his mind when it came to renegotiating NAFTA. Barreiro imports large numbers of tiles from Mexico, but he said he didn't think it would hurt his bottom line in a serious way.
"Concerned for my business? No, I don't think so," Barreiro said. "I would say my greater concern is for the disturbance in the relationship that exists right now between the United States and Mexico."