SAN ANTONIO – Months before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared Tuesday that the revised United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was a “victory for the American worker,” Richard Perez, the president and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, told KSAT, “We were biting our nails down to our fingers, our bones.”
Perez said now, “The Republicans are saying, ‘We’re happy.’ The Democrats are now saying they were happy. The White House says, ‘We’re happy.’"
“We’re hearing all the right voices,” Perez said. “It’s time for us to get on one sheet of music and start singing.”
He said as a result, San Antonio’s 63,000 free trade-related jobs will be protected, and he predicts USMCA will create even more jobs.
The agreement that still must be ratified by the three countries will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect in 1994.
The new agreement will include provisions to create more manufacturing jobs -- for example -- by increasing the proportion of vehicles that must originate in North America in order to be duty-free.
Perez said that’s exactly what Toyota Texas is doing, and since USMCA also will require more parts be produced in North America, as well, “They’ll go right into those Tundras, right into those Tacomas, and then we’ll be able to ship them all over the United States.”
He also credited the San Antonio congressional delegation in its commitment to getting the job done.
Perez said they often told him, “We’re working it, Richard."
One of the Chamber’s strongest allies, he said, was U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who represents the 20th Congressional District.
In a statement, Castro said the following:
“As the 10th largest economy in the world and an international trade hub, Texas is the nation’s number one exporter, accounting for almost 20 per cent of the nation’s trade. This agreement supports all the many dimensions of Texas and San Antonio’s economy, from manufacturing to agriculture to e-commerce and cybersecurity."