According to the United States Census Bureau, New Mexico exports approximately $3.6 billion worth of goods every year, including $1.6 billion to Mexico and $1.0 billion to China. These goods include everything from computer processors and accessories to our world famous chili. Exports are an integral part of the New Mexico economy, supporting approximately 15,000 jobs in our state.
President Trump has authorized his administration to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On January 23, 2018, I joined my colleagues in Congress in sending a letter to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer saying that a renegotiation of NAFTA must address Mexico’s suppression of wages and lack of labor rights, which have led to the outsourcing of U.S. jobs and low wage growth.
On March 8, 2018, President Trump authorized tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum. While I believe that the President has an obligation to uphold fair trade policies, I am concerned that these tariffs may lead to a trade war with China, the European Union, and others. A trade war would be dangerous and short-sighted and would make it harder for U.S. businesses to compete abroad. Retaliatory actions would especially harm agricultural businesses in New Mexico and increase costs on consumers.
Boosting our economy through trade while protecting American workers has been a top priority of mine as a member of Congress. I will continue to support initiatives that help small and medium-sized businesses compete in the global economy.