Cuellar: When renegotiating NAFTA, we must do no harm

10/11/2017 The Houston Chronicle 

TLC_mapDo no harm has been the basic tenet of supporters since the Trump administration announced its intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). That means not hurting the relationships we have built with our neighbors who work with us on a daily basis to promote trade and border security and are the first to render aid in our times of need. It also means not hurting the vibrant and essential interconnected trade networks that have flourished in the past 23 years, creating growth in regional economies and helping communities across the country.

Naturally, negotiations are points of conflict, but our approach should acknowledge decades of cooperation, as well as the success of free trade in improving all of our economies. Vitriolic rhetoric around negotiations, national security and immigration strain our close friendships and is disrespectful of our shared histories. It is more important than ever that we do no harm in style, as well as in substance.


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‘I am full of anguish right now.’ Thousands in Mexico remain without homes weeks after quake

10/11/2017 The Los Angeles Times

mexican flagDisplaced residents gathered outside the vacant apartment complex, awaiting a chance to enter their homes and salvage documents, valuables, photographs and other mementos from cordoned-off flats.

All had been homeless since last month’s earthquake forced them to evacuate after one building in the complex crumbled and killed nine people. The collapse raised fears about the safety of sister structures.

The arrival of fumigators in white coveralls and surgical masks and toting pest-control equipment only added to the growing sense of gloom and despondency.

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Republicans Say Trump Denied Deal With Dems on Dreamers

10/03/2017 New York Times

REPUBLICAN PARTY ELEPHANTWASHINGTON — GOP lawmakers who dined with Donald Trump at the White House said Tuesday the president denied making a deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to protect immigrants brought here illegally as kids.

And House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that the president agreed that any deal on so-called “Dreamers” would happen only after Congress dispenses with tax overhaul legislation. “Taxes first and then we could solve DACA,” recounted McCarthy, who was among the small group of GOP lawmakers at Monday night’s dinner. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that has provided temporary work permits and deportation relief to some 800,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids.

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Cuts hurt Mexico quake response, outlook ahead of 2018 vote

09/28/2017 Reuters

cast vote mexicoMEXICO CITY – Spending cuts and a failure by Mexico’s president to upgrade an earthquake alert system hurt life-saving prevention programs and amplified recovery costs after two major temblors this month, current and former government officials said.

Although President Enrique Pena Nieto is eager to show a prompt and competent response to the earthquakes, which killed more than 430 people, the budget of recovery agencies is threadbare due to cost-cutting by his administration.

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Here’s the scariest part of NAFTA, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

09/22/2017 CNBC

Image result for wilbur rossCommerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Friday that autos and auto parts are a key area in overhauling the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

The “scariest part” of NAFTA as it’s currently written is that autos and auto parts make up nearly all of the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, Ross said on “Squawk Box.”

“Without that there would be a surplus,” he said.

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Mexico’s Pemex says gasoline, diesel supplies guaranteed

09/20/2017 Reuters

Menergy - gas pumpEXICO CITY, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Mexico’s state oil company Pemex said in a statement on Wednesday that its installations suffered no significant damage from an earthquake on Tuesday, adding that all its operations were normal.

Pemex said that gasoline and diesel supplies are “completely guaranteed” in those states impacted by the quake, adding that there was sufficient inventory at its storage and distribution terminals.

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A Scion of Mexico Fights Corruption, and Becomes a Target via @NYTimes

8/30/2017 The New York Times By Azam Ahmed

MEXICO CITY — President Enrique Peña Nieto sat before the nation’s titans of industry and allowed himself a smile.

Mexico’s business elite had invested record amounts of money in the country, giving life to the president’s promise of an economic renaissance and a welcome bright spot in an otherwise bleak landscape of scandals hovering over his administration.

But the president needed more from the nation’s top business leaders, perhaps his most important allies. He needed loyalty. According to five people who recounted the private gathering in May, the president turned to Claudio X. González Laporte, a corporate chairman revered in Mexico.

Your son, the president told him, needs to stop being so critical of the government.

The room fell quiet. Mr. González’s son had spent nearly two decades fighting the twin plagues of corruption and impunity blighting Mexico. But his latest endeavor, an investigative news group that has exposed contract rigging by Mr. Peña Nieto’s allies, was making too much noise for the president’s liking.

“Civil society should not spend so much time talking about corruption,” the president scolded Mr. González. The powerful crowd sat stunned at the attack on one of their own, until Mr. González broke the silence.

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