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What will USMCA mean for Corpus Christi and Coastal Bend

Steel Dynamics website homepage announcing Sinton mill
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 18:35:07-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some American businesses are celebrating the new agreement here in the Coastal Bend.

Experts believe this new deal will bring more business to the Coastal Bend.

Texas exports more than a $100 billion worth of goods a year to Mexico.

That includes energy resources like those shipped through the Port of Corpus Christi.

Experts say the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will mean more exports and more industries.

Texas exports more goods to Mexico than anywhere else, potentially making the state a big winner with the USMCA.

South Texas industries especially will get a major bump.

“For South Texas, I would say it's more on trade or exports in commodities,” Texas A&M-Corpus Christi economics professor Dr. Jim Lee said.

By commodities, Lee means cotton and petrochemical products like oil and gas.

“Steel Dynamics is building a $1.9 billion flat-roll steel mill near Corpus Christi,” President Donald Trump said.

This news is thrilling to Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corp. COO Mike Culbertson, who worked extensively on the Steel Dynamics deal.

“It’s a source of pride,” Culbertson said.

Steel made in the Coastal Been will lead to other industries, Culbertson said.

“Once they sell their end product, it becomes input for somebody else,” Culbertson said. “So, if we can get those factories here.”

Lee also expects other development to come to the area because of Steel Dynamics.

“I would expect more heavy industries will be coming to the Corpus Christi area because of the growth and the export potential,” Lee said.

Steel is a major component of the auto industry.

The USMCA forces domestic auto makers to use more parts made in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

So would that be a good fit?

Culbertson says the regional economic development corporation is working to bring the auto industry here.

The Port of Corpus Christi also will benefit.

In a statement, Port CEO Sean Strawbridge said the port is now positioned to work with Canadian companies as well as Mexico.