Lawmakers want meeting with Trump administration to take US-Mexico border trade

Lawmakers want meeting with Trump administration to take US-Mexico border trade

Two Texas lawmakers on Thursday called on U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to meet with them and others whose districts border Mexico.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP braces for impeachment brawl Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Judge blocks Trump 'public charge' rule | Appeals court skeptical of Trump arguments for Medicaid work requirements | CDC offers guidance for treating vaping-related cases GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe MORE (R-Texas), the Senate majority whip, and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) sent a letter to Lighthizer, asking for a meeting to discuss the Trump administration's developing plan to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"We ask that you sit with us for a substantive discussion of the role this trade plays in the economy of our region and take these considerations into mind as you negotiate a 21st Century NAFTA agreement," Cornyn and Cuellar wrote.

Lighthizer, who testified before the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees over the past couple of days, said the plan is to start talks with Mexico and Canada on NAFTA on Aug. 16, the earliest date formal talks can being under congressional trade promotion authority rules.

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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will hold three days of hearings next week to discuss NAFTA — Tuesday through Thursday. 

The White House's detailed plan on how to renegotiate the agreement is expected July 17, Lighthizer told lawmakers. 

The U.S.-Mexico border region is "unique," the lawmakers wrote, and produced more than $579 billion in two-way trade between the U.S. and Mexico in 2016.

Cornyn and Cuellar have consistently worked together on this issue.

In April, they co-hosted a Laredo roundtable discussion on trade with business leaders from both sides of the border.