Opinion: Some Texas wisdom on trade for President Trump

AP Photo / David Goldman

AP Photo / David Goldman

The relative success of President Trump’s speech Tuesday night — he sounded like a president, not a shock jock — will only matter if he can keep up the gravitas as he moves from asking Congress to confirm his appointees to asking it to pass legislation on his agenda. That goes double for those parts of his agenda that make the GOP majorities nervous, including trade.

So I thought it was noteworthy to see an op-ed in Politico from Sen. John Cornyn, No. 2 in the Senate Republican hierarchy, describing both NAFTA’s benefits to Texas and the ways the trade deal might be tweaked in America’s favor.

“As our largest export market, Mexico has an extraordinary economic relationship with Texas. Trade with our southern neighbor supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in my state and provides more goods at a better price for Texas families. More than a third of all Texas merchandise is exported to Mexico — meaning our farmers, ranchers and small businesses have found no shortage of customers south of the border too.

“This explosion in trade for our state has catapulted Texas to the top of exporting states in the country for more than a decade now. Thanks to trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), goods and services flow more freely among the three North American countries, growing jobs across Texas and stretching paychecks further. This isn’t just true for Texas. A majority of exports coming from Michigan and Ohio, for example, are bound for our NAFTA partners too.

“Trade in Texas — specifically along our Southern border with Mexico — doesn’t just work in theory. It’s the reality on the ground too. Last week I led a congressional delegation to the border to see this economy in action. We visited the Pharr International Bridge in the Rio Grande Valley — a bridge that facilitates about $30 billion in trade a year. We also visited Laredo, a port that handles about a third of all international trade in Texas, with 14,000 trucks passing through daily. In other words, the Texas border serves as a major gateway for agriculture and manufactured goods trade. It moves more freight along its 1,200-plus miles of southern border than any other border state. And this trade in turn fuels economic growth and vitality across the region and the entire country.”

All the talk about what we import needs to be balanced by these and other facts about what we export. (Not to mention what the flip-side of a trade deficit is — namely, a capital surplus that also creates jobs.) That’s true here in Georgia as well, given the role Savannah’s port plays in sending American-made goods and crops to the world. Tearing up NAFTA is a dubious way to bring jobs back to America, but it’s a certain way to harm the many Americans working in the export business.

That doesn’t mean we can’t strike better trade deals — though Trump’s pledge to strike a lot of smaller, bilateral deals rather than larger, multilateral deals is one way to make trade more of a burden on U.S. companies, not less of one. And it doesn’t mean we can’t improve upon the ones we have. On that score, Cornyn has a few suggestions to enhance NAFTA:

“Consider the nation’s energy landscape. It has changed dramatically since the trade deal was hammered out in the 1990s. With the recent lifting of the U.S. crude oil export ban and Mexico’s energy reforms, a renegotiated deal should account for regulatory cooperation and capacity-building provisions that promote investment and the free flow of American energy, particularly a streamlined approval process for LNG exports. There’s room to bring the services trade into the 21st century, strengthen intellectual property rights and eliminate non-science barriers to trade, too.”

That’s all true, and to the extent the Trump administration focuses on these areas, it will make trade freer to our benefit.

Interestingly, Cornyn also tied the trade question to the immigration question:

“The president has made no secret of rightly prioritizing our country’s safety. Securing the border is an essential part of that equation. But as we do, we must be quick to engage community leaders and business-owners along the border. Yes, they want security and protection. But they also know that key to the success of Texas and the nation has been the cultivation of an environment that can manage the demands of high-volume trade. That means keeping legitimate trade and travel flowing, while simultaneously screening criminal elements and contraband to keep them out. In other words, the border ecosystem demands a careful balance.”

Perhaps this will be another one of those areas that Trump finds to be harder once in office than he thought while he was just campaigning. If so, he’d be wise to heed Cornyn’s advice.

Reader Comments 0

607 comments
breckenridge
breckenridge

Stating the the FBI director better wear a bulletproof vest should be considered grounds for dismissal from this blog.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 That raises the third problem: it seems the FISA-compelled protocols for precluding the dissemination of the information were violated, and that Obama’s team issued orders to achieve precisely what the law forbids, if published reports are true about the administration sharing the surveilled information far-and-wide to promote unlawful leaks to the press. This, too, would be its own crime, as it brings back the ghost of Hillary’s emails — by definition, FISA information is strictly confidential or it’s information that never should have been gathered. FISA strictly segregates its surveilled information into two categories: highly confidential information of the most serious of crimes involving foreign acts of war; or, if not that, then information that should never have been gathered, should be immediately deleted, and never sourced nor disseminated. It cannot be both.

Recognizing this information did not fit FISA meant having to delete it and destroy it. According to published reports, Obama’s team did the opposite: order it preserved, ordered the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it; and then Obama’s Attorney General issued an order to allow broader sharing of information and, according to the New York Times, Obama aides acted to label the Trump information at a lower level of classification for massive-level sharing of the information. The problem for Obama is simple — if it could fit a lower level of classification, then it had to be deleted and destroyed, not disseminated and distributed, under crystal clear FISA law. Obama’s team’s admission it could be classified lower, yet taking actions to insure its broadest distribution, could even put Obama smack-middle of the biggest unlawful surveillance and political-opponent-smear campaign since Nixon. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

FBI Director James B. Comey asked the Justice Department this weekend to issue a statement refuting President Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump’s phones before the election, according to U.S. officials, but the department did not do so.

And once again it turns out that Trump is the lying pile of worthless crap we all knew him to be.  Not that it's any surprise.  What really makes me chuckle, though, is that the legion of idiotic blind Trump followers sucked up his sewer-water lies like the whacked-out extremists that they are.  Gather 10 of them together and there is a slight chance that their combined IQ would hit 150.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Let's just say that comey's fingerprints are all over the FISA wiretapp requests. Will he play the part of the rogue government official who took it upon himself to launch an investigation of the opposition political party's presidential candidate, based on the most flimsiest evidence imaginable, without notifying his superiors? lol. Or will he be forced to admit he was directed, er, I mean, ordered to obtain them?


Interesting, indeed.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@AndyManUSA#45  He may have been bypassed. However, as Director he would learn that he had been. Could it be that his request for the DOJ to disavow Trump's claim have some hidden agenda. I know pure conjecture but stranger things have happened in our politics these days.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

comey would be wise to wear that bullet proof vest.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

James Comey, was considered a rogue in the FBI by Obama and his puppet Loretta Lynch. It is hard to really know what motive Comey, has in ostensibly challenging Trump's veracity by asking the DOJ to disavow Trump's wiretap allegations. There may be some nuance there. We shall see.

Here's_to_Blue
Here's_to_Blue

It's amazing what evil, deep-state shenanigans the die-hard cons will attribute to Obama . . . immediately after dismissing him as a namby-pamby, weak-wristed community organizer.  Oy to the vey!

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV  Maybe Comey was bypassed. Who knows but an investigation will reveal the facts. You may want to fasten your seat belt.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV May be. Who knows. But the Liar-in Chief claimed it has happened. Are you doubting your leader?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit  No...Trumps called for an investigation himself. Are you concerned what might be revealed in the discovery process?

goatdiddler
goatdiddler

@MarkVV "Comey argued that Trump's claim is false and has no supporting evidence"

Isn't this always the case?

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV W hy should I be concerned?

But you apparently are so blind that you do not see any contradiction between making an accusation and then asking for an investigation whether it happened.  

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

The left should have known but evidently forgot that Trump, is a fighter. It will get bloody and Trump will continuing taking his message directly to the American people much to the consternation of the media. Who knew how powerful Twitter could be in American politics.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit Trump is an under-the-belt hitting fighter who attacks the media because they dare to tell the truth about him.

goatdiddler
goatdiddler

@MarkVV @SGTGrit He's a 70 year old, seriously overweight sociopath who will punch himself out by tweeting all night, every night.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit  The Democrats utilize the media's under the belt hitting tactics to attack Trump because he dares to tell the truth about both.

bu22
bu22

The serial posting liberals and a few of the conservatives are doing nothing on here but calling names.  Some of them need a vacation.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@bu22 The serial posting Trump supporters are doing nothing but defending the lies and misdeeds of Donald Trump and attacking those who dare to criticize the Liar-in Chief.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Obama, will be called in to testify under oath to the congress.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

AS will Loretta Lynch.

Here's_to_Blue
Here's_to_Blue

@SGTGrit And his truth-telling under oath will blow you cons' conspiracy theories out of the water, Grit.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

  Congress-man Devin Nu-nes, chair-man of the Ho-use Intellig--ence Comm-ittee, said it “will make inq-uiries into whe-ther the gover-nment was condu-cting surveil-lance activi-ties on any poli-tical party’s campai-gn offi-cials or sur-rog-ates”.


The comm-ittee is already exam-ining poss-ible links betwee-n Rus-sia and Mr Trump’s camp-aign.


Tom Cot-ton, a member of the Se-nate Intellig-ence Comm-ittee, also said it would inves-tigate Mr Trump's alleg-ations.


He said: "We're go-ing to follo-w the facts where-ver they lead us and I'm sure that this ma-tter will be a part of that inq-uiry."

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Looks like comey just got flushed out. 


The deep state is in deep trouble.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Trump, outfoxed the Democrats and the lame stream media once again with his take it to the people strategy. By taking an open allegation about the Obama administrations misuse of wiretaps, he's now given at least equal challenge to the Democrats desperate attempt to link him and his administration to the Russians. The media focus will now have to include Obama and the Democrats in the investigation and that neutralizes the Democrats from having the focus on him alone. Well done and Obama's already tarnished legacy will be further damaged.

Resist Trump
Resist Trump

You gotta be kidding me dude. McConnell and Ryan are in a meeting right now with other senior republicans, discussing impeachment or invoking the twenty fifth amendment. President Twit isn't going to serve a full year.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Does that mean Hillary or some other America-hating, values-perverting Democrat will be President?

No?

It's all good.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Resist Trump President Trump's case is rock solid. All evidence is in his favor. If the establishment attempts a coup, the shooting war starts shortly thereafter.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

The issues are (a) whether the Obama Justice Department sought such surveillance authorization from the FISA court, and (b) whether, if the Justice Department did that, the White House was aware of or complicit in the decision to do so. Personally, given the explosive and controversial nature of the surveillance request we are talking about – an application to wiretap the presidential candidate of the opposition party, and some of his associates, during the heat of the presidential campaign, based on the allegation that the candidate and his associates were acting as Russian agents – it seems to me that there is less than zero chance that could have happened without consultation between the Justice Department and the White House.


Think about this for a second, the people that gave Russia our uranium, lost Syria to them, neglected our military strength against them, provided them with missile defense free zones so they could attack their neighbors, gave their ally iran millions upon millions of dollars in cash, etc, etc, etc are calling Trump a Russian agent over some fake phone calls?


This whole country is as-s backwards.



Now is not the time to go wobbly, George.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@AndyManUSA#45 This announcement clearly shows the depravity of Trump and his closest associates, as well as those here who support him. According to the above, it is about "reports" of some "investigation." But the president accused the former President - and insulting him - of actually doing it. He, the President, has all the power to find the truth. His accusations show that he is fundamentally  unfit to be the Chief Executive.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @AndyManUSA#45  Or so you would hope. But hope and change Obama style is now putting this horrible excuse for an American president back in the lime light that he didn't want or foreseen happening.

breckenridge
breckenridge

I'm looking at this photo from the Trump supporters rally in Colorado........old white men in camo showed up to support their hero.  Camo? Apparently they were expecting deer to show up at the rally.


What a bunch of stupid hicks.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Oh my, look at all the blood in the swamp water.


Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh (theme song from the movie Jaws.)


The Money Honey is practically floating above her desk in excitement.


You libs are finished.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 Understand the significance of this: Only the Justice Department litigates before the FISA court; this was not some rogue investigators; this was a high level of Obama’s Justice Department — the same institution that, at that very moment, was whitewashing the Clinton e-mail scandal. And when Justice seeks FISA surveillance authority, it is essentially telling that court that there is probable cause to believe that the targets have acted as agents of a foreign power — that’s the only basis for getting a FISA warrant.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

We will see. Trump is a liar, and probably trying to change the story from Russia.

This will probably end up where the investigation for voter fraud, crowd sizes and lawsuits for women accusing him of sexual harassment ended up. Going nowhere once he gets the heat of himself.

How many times are you going to fall for the same thing?

MarkVV
MarkVV

@AndyManUSA#45 What is your problem with investigating whether someone acted as agent of a foreign power - are you a Russian agent?