First Steps Toward A Transatlantic Trade Agreement

President Obama's decision to launch free trade negotiations with the European Union could yield significant benefits for Houston.

Collectively, the European Union is already America’s third-largest export market, after Canada and Mexico. Patrick Jankowski is with the Greater Houston Partnership.

“Before NAFTA was passed, the Houston region exported a little less than $2 billion worth of stuff to Mexico every year, and last year, Houston exported nearly $14 billion worth of goods and commodities to Mexico. So if we can get an agreement negotiated like that in Europe, like the president’s talking about, it would only mean good things for Houston.”

Getting any such deal through Congress would first require the body to pass a fresh grant of trade promotion authority — a law binding Congress to give free trade agreements a straight up-or-down vote, without amendments.  The last such grant expired in 2007.

Senators Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch — the chair and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee — informed the White House Tuesday they intend to press for TPA’s renewal.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...