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NAFTA’s impact on U.S. could have effect on Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement passing

President Obama is fighting feverishly to make the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement a reality.

The TPP would include nations that span the Pacific rim from Chile and Peru in South America to Vietnam in Southeast Asia.

Obama says it will open huge markets to U.S. goods.

Opponents, including a large number of Democrats, say the TPP will make it easier for the U.S. to ship American jobs overseas.

They say this extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will cost U.S. jobs and not live up to environmental standards.

On Monday, the Obama administration released a new report titled “United States of Trade,” highlighting the importance of trade to the Texas economy with “Made in America” exports.

El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke hasn’t said how he will vote.

The fast track legislation faces a tough battle in the House of Representatives where many of the 188 Democrats oppose giving the president broader power.

Two sets of votes were set for Tuesday.

NAFTA’s Possible Effect On TPP

Voting on this new treaty may be affected ty the last one – NAFTA – which went into effect in 1994.

President Obama visited Mexico in mid-February of 2014 for the North American leaders summit – nicknamed the “Three Amigos Summit.”

Trade topped the agenda with the talks between the U.S., Canada and Mexico set to coincide with the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, which quadrupled trade.

Along the southern border of the U.S., trade topped $500 billion in 2013.

“What NAFTA has done is it has streamlined trade relations between Canada, United States and Mexico,” said Tom Fullerton, UTEP professor of economics and finance.

Manuel Ochoa, VP of business development for TECMA, an import-export facilitator, says NAFTA delivered what was promised.

“In terms of what we are seeing here on the border is precisely an increase in trade,” Ochoa said. “Commercial and legal trade has increased since NAFTA has come into effect in that way.”

In contrast, worker advocates say the cost has been high for El Pasoans who can least afford it.

“When they passed the North American Free Trade Agreement we lost 35,000 jobs and those jobs never came back,” Lorena Andrade, director of La Mujer Obrera, told ABC-7. “So now all we have in unstable work. We don’t even have 40 hour work weeks many of us and it’s very difficult for us to sustain our families at the level we use to before.”

NAFTA’S Overall Picture May Be Positive

“But after the NAFTA was implemented, unemployment rates went down, the number of jobs went up, during an era when the civilian labor force was expanded really rapidly here,” Fullerton said.

But those untrained for that future found themselves on the outside looking in.

“When the economy changes, there are always winner and losers, and there are those that have to make the sacrifices,” Andrade said. “Why does it always have to be our families or our communities to make those sacrifices?”

Find out more about NAFTA at the official website of NAFTA, created by the three countries, at

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