With relief, comes local concern about ratifying new USMCA deal

Congress taking up USMCA after midterm elections

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Even as the San Antonio-based Toyota plant celebrates its 15th year, there's concern over the effect of the upcoming congressional midterm elections on ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

"I think it could complicate matters," Chris Nielsen, executive vice president and chief quality officer of Toyota Motor North America Inc., said.

Nielsen, along with Yoshi Nagatani, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc., were at the plant Friday for a ceremony marking its anniversary in San Antonio.

"Of course, no one knows the outcome of the midterms, yet it may change the makeup of Congress," Nielsen said.

Currently, Republicans control both the U.S House of Representatives and the Senate, but political observers predict Democrats could become the majority in the House.

Sen. John Cornyn, of San Antonio, the new majority whip, took a tour of the local plant and said, "I was pleased with the negotiations, but now comes the hard part."

Cornyn said that, by waiting until after the first of the year, "My hope is that it will give us time to work with the administration to tweak problematic areas in the agreement."

He said the rules are such that Congress can't amend the agreement once it reaches Capitol Hill.

"So those negotiations need to happen before they send it to us," Cornyn said. "We need time to educate the members of Congress and then sell it so that we can get it passed."

Richard Perez, the president and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, who also attended the celebration on Friday, said, "My concern is our ability to get it passed through the various Congresses -- Canada, Mexico and the U.S."

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