THCC signs letter urging Trump to modernize NAFTA, 'do no harm' - Tucson News Now

THCC signs letter urging Trump to modernize NAFTA, 'do no harm'

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has signed on to a letter asking President Donald Trump not to end the North American Free Trade Agreement, but to modernize it.

The Hispanic Chamber becomes the 314th to sign on in all 50 states and the 23rd in the state of Arizona.

The Trump administration is in talks with Canada, but has stated the United States may drop out of the deal which the president called "the worst in history."

The chambers disagree and say the agreement signed 23 years ago is responsible for 14 million American jobs and $1.2 trillion in economic activity annually.

Mexico is Arizona's biggest trading partner, accounting for more than a $1 billion in cross-border trade and tourism every year.

"Really, that would be devastating to the Arizona economy," said Lea Marquez-Peterson, president and CEO of the Hispanic chamber in Tucson. "We are concerned."

Marquez-Peterson says negotiations have not gone well in recent months and they "are keeping a close eye on the talks."

"We want Mexico to know Arizona is open and friendly for business," she said. "We want them to come and feel comfortable in southern Arizona."

According to the letter, which was also sent to Congress, NAFTA has been beneficial for farmers and ranchers.

Agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have increased to $38 billion in 2016.

Fearing the demise of the trade agreement, many Mexican companies have been looking elsewhere for their products, including China.

"We've certainly been concerned about the tone in which NAFTA negotiations occurred," Marquez-Peterson said.

Some of the conditions laid out by the president for re-negotiating the deal have been called non-starters by Mexico and Canada. 

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