WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall released the following statement after the Trump administration sent Congress formal notice of its intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
"NAFTA, like many of our trade agreements, could certainly be improved with better protections for American workers and updated to reflect new circumstances. However, any renegotiation of NAFTA must protect the thousands of New Mexicans whose livelihoods depend on stable trade relations with Mexico. Business and economic development leaders in Santa Teresa and across the state have told me that the Trump administration's brinksmanship, confusion, and alarming rhetoric surrounding NAFTA have already hurt our border economies, placing a cloud of uncertainty over businesses and damaging our relationship with our most important trading partner, Mexico.
"As we move forward, Congress, New Mexicans and the American people deserve to have the details about the Trump administration's priorities and intentions for NAFTA renegotiation. Given that NAFTA was implemented by congressional legislation that is now law, any significant change to NAFTA will need to come back to Congress for approval.
"U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer pledged to me that he will oppose unilateral withdrawal from NAFTA. He also stated that demands for Mexico to pay for a border wall would doom the chances of a successful NAFTA negotiation. He further committed to giving greater consideration to U.S. businesses - many of which are located in New Mexico's border region and employ thousands of New Mexicans - in NAFTA renegotiation. I will hold the Trump administration to these commitments, and I will forcefully oppose an adversarial or chaotic approach to updating NAFTA that undermines our critical trade relationship with Mexico.
"New Mexico's border region is one of the bright spots in our state's struggling economy - but President Trump's reckless NAFTA posturing threatens that success. Now that NAFTA renegotiation has formally begun, it is imperative that President Trump and Representative Lighthizer visit our border communities to see for themselves what their plans will mean for real New Mexicans and Americans."