Only three days after Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) authored a letter encouraging the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to formally notify Congress of the intent to include Mexico in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, USTR has provided Congress written notification of the administration's intent to include Mexico in TPP negotiations. This notification begins a 90-day consultation process between the administration and Congress on negotiating objectives with Mexico.
"Today, we took another crucial step forward toward securing Mexico's inclusion in the TPP," said Cuellar, who is Chair of the Pro-Trade Caucus. "Because of the many economic ties between us, this is excellent news for both of our countries, and especially for Texas. As the second largest destination for American exports, Mexico continues to benefit Texas with $86 billion worth of Texas products to Mexico, and our countries exchange $1 billion in trade each day, which in turn supports manufacturers, ranchers, small businesses and consumers who rely on trade with our southwest neighbor. I commend Ambassador Kirk for sending the official letter to Congress to pave the way for Mexico's inclusion in this landmark trade agreement."
"Expanding the negotiations to include additional countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region has been a longstanding U.S. objective. Mexico's participation advances this goal and further increases the economic significance of a TPP Agreement," stated Kirk in his letter to the House of Representatives. "We have conducted in-depth discussions with Mexico about the standards and objectives that the TPP countries are seeking, particularly in those areas where the standards or objectives are higher than those that exist in the NAFTA. Mexico has assured us of its willingness to negotiate on these issues and its preparedness to achieve these high standards together with the other TPP countries."
Cuellar's continued efforts to secure Mexico's inclusion in the TPP have been crucial in driving the process's momentum. The United States Trade Representative issued the formal notification to Congress only three days after Cuellar sent a bipartisan letter dated July 6, 2012 that encouraged U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to formally notify Congress of the intent to include Mexico in the TPP agreement.
This letter, signed by a bipartisan coalition of eleven lawmakers, responded to the recent announcement by the U.S. and eight other countries involved in the TPP Agreement that they have extended an invitation to Mexico to join the TPP negotiations. In addition to Congressman Cuellar, members of Congress who signed this letter are: Congressman Francisco "Quico" Canseco (TX-23), Congressman Bob Filner (CA-51), Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12), Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), Congressman Gregory Meeks (NY-6),Congressman Jim Moran (VA-8), Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-21), Congressman Jared Polis (CO-02), Congressman Silvestre Reyes (TX-16) and Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-32).
Prior to the July 6, 2012 letter, Cuellar and a bipartisan group of 27 lawmakers sent a March 2012 letter to U.S. Trade Representative Kirk conveying support for Mexico's inclusion in the TPP negotiations. By June 2012, the U.S. and eight other countries negotiating the TPP Agreement extended an invitation to Mexico to join the TPP negotiations.
Mexico is a crucial trade partner that contributes to the U.S.'s steady economic growth. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that trade with Mexico accounts for approximately 6 million American jobs, and increased trade with Mexico has the potential to further boost job creation in the United States. Additionally, Texas exports $86 billion worth of products to Mexico, and trade with Mexico supports 463,132 jobs in Texas. Texas exports to Mexico include computers and electronic products and result in $19.6 billion annually. According to the Secretariat of the Economy of Mexico, Mexico is the second largest export market for the United States, accounting for nearly $200 billion in consumption of U.S. goods in 2010. In this same year, U.S. exports to Mexico increased $34 billion, which helped promote GDP growth.
The TPP is a free trade agreement aimed at facilitating U.S. trade engagement in the Asia-Pacific region's huge and growing markets. In addition to the United States, the countries currently negotiating the TPP are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.