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As U.S., Mexico Talk Tougher on NAFTA, Worries Grow in Texas

September 23, 2017

It wasn't NAFTA that persuaded Anurag Kumar to base part of his tech company's offices in Mexico, but it sure helped.

Kumar liked that Guadalajara, the western Mexican city where a majority of his staff would set up shop, was young, cosmopolitan and had a plethora of hungry, highly educated, English-speaking developers looking to break into the city's booming tech scene. Setting up an office for his Austin-based software development company, iTexico, in a North American time zone would cut costs but keep an ease of communication and travel...

But it was the added bonus of intellectual property protections and passport options for business travel included in the trade agreement that sweetened the deal for Kumar.

As President Donald Trump's administration tries to renegotiate the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which he has called the "worst trade deal ever" and has threatened to end, Kumar and many other Texans are nervous about their economic futures...

"I wonder where the GOP of free markets, respect for individual liberty and appreciation for the U.S.'s place in the world has gone,” said Tony Garza, the former U.S. ambassador under President George W. Bush and now counsel in the Mexico City office of White & Case. He said the Texas GOP suffers from a “dearth of principle” at a time when hundreds of thousands of jobs and border security are at stake.

“I've been surprised to see so little advocacy in support of trade and business in our state Capitol,” Garza said. “Seems like we just spent 140 days and a special session chasing our tails on sanctuary cities and bathrooms, and not doing much for business and education”....

Read the full article here.