by Dave Moore, Staff Writer
Texas senior Sen. John Cornyn told a crowd of more than 200 attendees that he will continue to work with President Donald Trump and his peers in Congress to preserve trade agreements, to avoid a trade war and to resolve conflicts over immigration.
Cornyn spoke Friday, May 4, at the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Legislative Speaker Series at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. Former U.S. Ambassador and current Hunt Consolidated executive Jeanne Phillips hosted the conversation with him, leading with a question over the Trump administration’s trade policies.
“It’s hard, in the Trump administration, to know what is theater and what’s reality, and that’s just sort of the way the administration operates,” Cornyn said. “And they negotiate in ways that are not what I would call orthodox when it comes to politics or international relationships.”
Cornyn said Trump’s instincts on the economy, taxes and regulations are very solid. Trade is another question, he said.
“The trade part confuses me because I think the president, his rhetoric — which is, I think, more populist than policy-oriented — I think he blames trade for a lot of things that are not necessarily directly trade related.”
Trump is gaining an appreciation for the potential retaliation that can occur with heavy tariffs, Cornyn said.
“So, I think what we’ve tried to do on NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and on the tariffs, and on China, is to try to work with the president, encouraging him in ways that would first do no harm,” he said. “NAFTA, is, I think, very important to Texas. Five million American jobs… depend on that binational relation with Mexico. Eight million with Canada. This is really important.”
Cornyn, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, mentioned that preserving the agreement is especially important to some of those in attendance, including Toyota Motor North America.
“There is a point at which we can kill the goose that laid the golden egg, and I think that would be a terrible, terrible mistake,” he said.
Cornyn said while he agrees that President Trump’s approach has been correct in addressing China over its aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and to defend American intellectual property, Trump sometimes ties U.S. trade policies to such behaviors.
“We hear a lot from her ranchers and farmers who are particularly beleaguered, and, in the end, nobody really wants a trade war,” he said.
When asked about the conflict over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Cornyn said opponents to Trump’s solution chose to make it a campaign issue, rather than resolving it when they had the chance. President Donald Trump proposed a path for citizenship for roughly 1.8 million DACA-eligible young adults, and a border wall with Mexico.
“There is a saying in Washington, D.C., that some people want a solution, while others want an issue they can use for the next election,” Cornyn said “I’m afraid… we’ve become captive of people wanting to preserve the issue for the election, rather than solve the problem, and that’s a real shame.”
Cornyn said, “In America, we don’t hold children responsible for the mistakes their parents made… We had to demonstrate, ‘Yes we want border security, yes, we want the rule of law, but there is a role for compassion and pragmatism, when it comes to DACA, and the president’s proposal to generate a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA-eligible young adults was extraordinarily generous,” he said. “It came with a price. The president said he wanted money for border security and here again some of the rhetoric on border security like, ‘The wall tends to be divisive,’ and people sort of ridicule that, from the standpoint of, ‘Well, that’s not a real solution. You need more than just physical infrastructure,’ and that’s true… but that’s a critical piece of the puzzle.”
In January, Democrats and Republicans presented a compromise agreement involving DACA; that deal was rejected by President Trump.
The DRC supports the continuation of DACA and has been actively engaged in the dialogue by sending multiple letters to elected officials and signing on to a national coalition letter with other chambers and the New American Economy. The DRC will continue to emphasize DACA’s importance to our skilled workforce and regional economy.
Cornyn said that resolving the immigration issue is key in meeting industry demands for qualified workers.
Phillips also asked Cornyn about whether the tax reform faces any revisions.
“We all know how complex and how self-defeating our tax code had become particularly when it comes to our top business rate, which was the highest in the world, at 35 percent,” he said. “Getting it down to 21 percent – which we did – which is the average of the industrialized countries in the world, I think is going to have a lot of benefits.”
Cornyn said he’s starting to seeing major businesses including AT&T, Southwest Airlines and others give bonuses and make commitments to infrastructure investment.
“You’re gonna see a lot of money coming back, that’s parked overseas, because people didn’t want to pay taxes twice on it, coming back to the United States, being invested in businesses and jobs here,” he said. “So, I think we’re going to see a huge benefit… Now, we could screw it up, and if we don’t get the trade thing right, [we] could well do that. But it is it is really encouraging.”
The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated, Inc. was the gold sponsor of the event; Texas Central Partners was a silver sponsor.
Dear DRC Members,
On Saturday, May 5th, Dallas County voters will elect the Dallas Independent School District trustee for District 9 and the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) trustee for District 7. Voters outside of Dallas County will be electing mayors, city councilmembers, and deciding bond elections across the region.
Voting in local elections has an outsized impact. Past Dallas ISD trustee elections have been decided by as few as 400 votes. Last May, only 7.8% of registered voters in Dallas turned out to the polls, selecting the leaders who make decisions on behalf of the 2.55 million residents in Dallas County.
Please remember to vote on Election Day on Saturday, May 5, and encourage your colleagues, friends, and family members to do so as well.
All best wishes,
President and CEO
Dallas Regional Chamber
Leading Chambers of Commerce in Texas unveiled a poll today of its members, finding that most say the state’s economy is headed in the right direction but more must be done to shore up education, transportation, infrastructure and workforce development.
The joint survey also showed that most of the chambers’ members believe the debate over a transgender bathroom bill has hurt Texas’ efforts to attract and keep talent. And, many say, Washington’s inability to resolve immigration is negatively affecting their businesses.
The survey – by chambers in Arlington, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio – provides a timely outlook on business trends in Texas. Its release comes as primary voters begin deciding local, legislative, statewide and congressional races.
“The statewide results of this survey validate what we hear from our business leaders in Dallas,” said Dale Petroskey, president and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “They want low taxes and reasonable regulations, and they also want investment in our children’s education, and in infrastructure to keep pace with our strong, growing economy.”
“Infrastructure, education and workforce development have long been priorities on our legislative agendas,” said Bill Thornton, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. “These findings confirm that those are still well-founded and give us data to help shape our federal and state policy recommendations for addressing these issues.”
“As the survey supported, our members are committed to championing economic and community prosperity,” stated Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of the Arlington Chamber. “Arlington manufacturing, entertainment and health sciences companies have a consistent voice that a world-class education, infrastructure and business environment is required for maintaining our position of economic leadership.”
Among other highlights, the poll of business leaders from across the state found that:
On the so-called bathroom bill, nearly two-thirds of chamber members say the state discussion about that issue has had a negative effect on perceptions of Texas’ ability to attract or retain qualified employees for its businesses. Of those polled, 44 percent say it has had a very negative effect.
The Legislature last year debated but did not pass a bill that would restrict bathroom use for transgender Texans in public facilities. Many of the state’s most recognized companies and business groups opposed the measure.
On immigration, 44 percent of chamber members polled say that federal discussions and actions over immigration are negatively affecting their business. Almost half say it has had no impact and 8 percent say it has been positive.
The survey went beyond an assessment of top business issues, offering solutions by chamber members to keep Texas moving. Among the findings:
The chambers sponsoring the survey collectively serve thousands of Texas companies that employ a large portion of the state’s workforce. The chambers have focused largely on economic development, mobility and other policies to benefit state and local economies. They are part of the Metro 8.
The online poll of 454 chamber members was conducted Feb. 9-18 by Research+Data Insights, a national polling firm based in Texas that is part of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which has offices in Dallas, Austin and Houston.
Dallas Regional Chamber
Andra Bennett House, APR
Vice President Communications
Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Vice President, Marketing & Business Development
Arlington Chamber of Commerce
ABOUT THE DALLAS REGIONAL CHAMBER
The Dallas Regional Chamber is the voice of business and the champion of economic growth and development in the Dallas Region. Our mission is to make Dallas the best place in America to live, work, and do business. We work with 1,200 member companies to strengthen our business community by advocating for pro-growth public policy, improving our educational system, attracting the best and brightest workers from around the world, and enhancing the quality of life for all in the Dallas Region. The DRC is a not-for-profit organization comprised of businesses, which represent all facets of the Dallas Regional business community. For more information, please contact the DRC at 214.746.6600 or visit www.dallaschamber.org.
ABOUT THE FORT WORTH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, with 2,000 member businesses, is one of the largest chambers in North Texas. Through its core functions of business attraction and retention, talent development, small business and entrepreneur support, and government advocacy, the Chamber’s mission is to bring the Fort Worth region together to identify issues, solve problems and help align resources resulting in a stronger business climate and greater economic prosperity for all.
ABOUT THE ARLINGTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Arlington Chamber’s mission states “Together, we champion economic and community prosperity.” We focus on four key priorities: 1) growing our members business, 2) fostering economic prosperity, 3) providing a unified voice for business and 3) developing our community’s future. We strive to build upon being the “American Dream City.” For more information, please contact the Arlington Chamber at 817-275-2613 or visit www.arlingtontx.com.
The Dallas Regional Chamber joined leaders of 25 metropolitan chambers of commerce from Canada, the United States and Mexico in Montreal this week in anticipation of the next round of NAFTA negotiations. The goal of this meeting was to clearly identify the issues surrounding the renewal of NAFTA, to understand the risks for businesses in the event of the current negotiations’ failure, and to send a clear message to the three governments on the importance of an updated agreement and maintaining open access to the entire North American market.
(video courtesy of Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain)
This event brought together the eight largest Canadian metropolitan chambers of commerce as well as ten American and eight Mexican metropolitan chambers of commerce. Collectively, these chambers represent economic zones with a combined GDP of almost $3.5 trillion.
“No state benefits more from the NAFTA relationship than Texas, and no state has contributed more to the overall positive economic condition of the U.S. than Texas,” said Priscilla Camacho, senior vice president for public policy at the Dallas Regional Chamber. “Nearly 1 million Texas jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico. Our hope is that the result of the negotiations will be a modernized NAFTA that will further strengthen the economy of Texas and the United States.”
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trade with Canada and Mexico supports nearly 14 million American jobs, and nearly 5 million of these jobs are supported by the increase in trade generated by NAFTA. The United States ran a cumulative trade surplus in manufactured goods with Canada and Mexico of more than $79 billion over the past seven years (2008-2014). For services, the U.S. surplus was $41.8 billion in 2014 alone.
At the end of this meeting, all chambers present signed a joint statement stressing the importance of maintaining the North American Free Trade Agreement for the economies of the three countries and their cities.
You can consult the signatories’ joint statement below.
JOINT DECLARATION OF METROPOLITAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE FROM THE UNITED STATES, MEXICO AND CANADA
We, the undersigned representatives of Metropolitan Cities Chambers of Commerce, agree to the following key facts regarding the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
Whereas: NAFTA has created major economic ties between Canada, the United States and Mexico, helping to quadruple trade between our three nations since its inception, now reaching $1.5 trillion USD annually.
Whereas: NAFTA has stimulated cross-border investments in the region. Canadian foreign direct investments in the US have risen from less than $40 billion USD to nearly $400 billion USD, and Mexican Foreign direct investment holdings in the United States have also increased by a factor of ten over the same period.
Whereas: 14 million jobs in the United States, 2 million jobs in Canada, and 3 million jobs in Mexico are dependent on trade between the three NAFTA member countries. Of the 14 million American jobs, 5 million are directly related to the growth of NAFTA.
Whereas: Value chains have become integrated through NAFTA, and many products cross our borders multiple times while becoming a finished product. For example, 40% of the content of all US imports from Mexico is produced in the United States. This integration severely increases the cost of breaking a free-trade zone in North America, both at the national and firm level.
Whereas: NAFTA has provided consumers in our metropolitan areas and across our three nations with access to more abundant and affordable products and services, including both high-quality manufactured goods and a wide variety of agricultural products throughout the year.
Whereas: Many of the companies that we represent would be adversely affected by a non-renewal of NAFTA, or a substantial departure from NAFTA’s core principles.
Thus, on the eve of the 6th round of negotiations for the renewal of NAFTA, we the undersigned:
Therefore, we jointly sign this Declaration,
Montreal, January 22nd, 2018
The leaders of the following chambers and boards of trade attended the meeting in Montreal: Albany, Boston, Brampton, Calgary, Chihuahua, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Halifax, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Mérida, Mexico City, Minneapolis, Monterrey, Montreal, Querétaro, San Antonio, St. Louis, Tijuana, Toronto, Vancouver, Veracruz, Winnipeg.
by Dave Moore, Staff Writer
If adversity reveals and builds character, the City of Dallas has character to spare, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told a sold-out crowd of about 730 individuals at his State of the City address, which was hosted by the Dallas Regional Chamber.
Rawlings used his annual address as much to review the events of 2017 as a springboard toward the city’s future. The event occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
He framed the past through the prism of a book he recently completed; David Brooks’ “The Road to Character.”
“The road to character often involves moments of moral crisis, confrontation and recovery,” Rawlings told the crowd, summarizing Brooks’ work. “When they were in a crucible moment, they suddenly had a greater ability to see their own nature. This really speaks to what we’ve been through as a city over the past 18 months.”
Rawlings recalled issues the city was addressing during his previous State of the City speech:
“Our financial troubles were coming to a head just as our city council was discussing a very important topic… the prospect of an $800 (million) to $1 billion bond election, to start attacking our growing needs of streets and parks and flood control,” Rawlings said. “And it wasn’t as if we didn’t face major battles at the state level. I don’t have to tell this room of business leaders that we were in a war to protect the Dallas, Texas, miracle – fighting the legislature on the Bathroom Bill, Sanctuary Cities legislation and property tax reform.”
Rawlings thanked the Dallas Regional Chamber, VisitDallas, Dallas voters, public servants and others for joining to overcome those challenges. He also used the occasion to recognize that the city has made strides in reducing its childhood poverty rate and its property tax base has increased to an all-time high of $118 billion, among other gains.
“We’ve been given a tremendous hand,” Rawlings said. “The question is, what are we going to do with it?”
The key, he said, will be a great deal of work to be done to increase community involvement and connecting Dallas’ business community to those who need assistance. Toward that end, Rawlings promoted his “Dallas 2030” initiative, which is geared toward individuals living in the city of Dallas.
The 2030 initiative, which hasn’t been completely fleshed out yet, will attempt to better coordinate employment training, and educational and industry initiatives to improve the city’s quality of life and standard of living, he said.
Rawlings paraphrased David Brooks’ “The Road to Character” again in closing: “He [Brooks] says, ‘You do not ask, “What do I want from life?” Ask, “What does life want from me? What do my circumstances ask of me to do?’”
The State of the City event was presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas; gold sponsors Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Oncor; and silver sponsors BKD LLP, Boeing and The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated, Inc..
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