December 13, 2017
Yesterday, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) helped pass two resolutions to reaffirm the United States House of Representatives’ strong commitment to the United States-Mexico and United States-Canada partnerships. These two strategic partnerships are essential to the United States to advance economic opportunities, strengthen border security, combat terrorism, and encourage bilateral cooperation when addressing environmental concerns, human trafficking, and smuggling of narcotics.
All but ten states in the United States rely on Mexico or Canada as their largest export markets. In San Diego, they are the two top customers, with $5.5 billion in annual exports to Mexico alone. According to the World Trade Center San Diego report, roughly 120,000 San Diegans have jobs that depend on trade.
“The United States House of Representatives formally recommitted the United States to maintaining strong relationships with our neighbors, Canada and Mexico,” said Rep. Scott Peters. “Strong relationships with our border allies expand the ability of the United States to pursue economic opportunities that would not be available without cooperation from our friends to the north and south. Reinforcing these strategic partnerships increases the good faith needed to develop strong mutually beneficial trade agreements.”
Peters added that any renegotiation of NAFTA must include strengthening of environmental standards, something that is of particular importance to San Diego, which shares a border with Mexico. In February 2017, more than 140 gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Tijuana River in Mexico, eventually reaching San Diego and the Pacific Ocean.
Rep. Peters continued, “It is through trade agreements that we are able to lift up environmental standards in other countries which affect us here at home since air and water pollution know no international boundaries. The United States must be able to stand up for its own communities through meaningful dispute resolution. Border patrol agents and many San Diegans risk being exposed to toxic chemicals, polluted soil, and other pollutants from raw sewage spilled into the Tijuana River in Mexico.
“I strongly believe that NAFTA benefits both sides of the border, but improvements need to be made. There is no doubt that any form of withdrawal or weakening of these agreements with Canada and Mexico would be detrimental to our nation.”