ALEC Congratulates David Dreier on Aztec Eagle Award
Former California Congressman David Dreier received the highest honor Mexico can bestow on a foreign national – the Aztec Eagle. Mexico’s President Enrique Pena-Nieto honored Rep. Dreier because of his unwavering leadership on the U.S.-Mexico economic partnership, including his early and continuing support for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
For those who have watched Rep. Dreier’s career over the decades, this latest accolade is a well-deserved but unsurprising tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to advancing global trade as a means to economic prosperity and to strategic stability around the world.
Rep. David Dreier was first elected to Congress in 1980 and almost immediately distinguished himself as a leader on international issues. He understands that trade frameworks not only promote economic growth but can strengthen strategic ties between the United States and our economic partners.
As Rep. Dreier wisely observed, “If we … don’t shape the global economy, we will be shaped by it.” Rep. Dreier recognized the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a way to increase U.S. trade with the fastest growing region in the world – the Asia-Pacific – and saw that TPP could serve to “update, upgrade, and strengthen NAFTA,” since all three NAFTA member states were also TPP negotiating partners.
His support of TPP and shepherding NAFTA through the ratification process are widely known, however, Rep. Dreier also championed less prominent bilateral FTAs such as a proposed agreement between the U.S. and the Republic of Georgia. Consistent with his vision of advancing economic and political freedom, Congressman Dreier was the Founding Chairman of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP). A bipartisan, twenty-member commission of the U.S. House of Representatives, the HDP helps to develop the legislative institutions that sustain and underpin successful democratic governments in emerging and fragile democracies.
Rep. David Dreier left Congress in 2012 and continues to build his foreign policy legacy as a private citizen. In January 2014 testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to celebrate NAFTA’s 20th anniversary, Dreier observed, “Continuing to lead on trade, perhaps more than on any other issue, may determine how the promise of the 21st century plays out for our people and the world.”
Today’s political climate disparages nuanced understanding of the world and of complex issues which often invites the demonization of trade and the agreements that facilitate it. This has led many political leaders who should and do know better to blame trade for worker dislocation and to forget that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside America’s borders making trade an inevitable component for economic growth.
Rep. David Dreier resists the temptation to reduce trade and globalization to facile, populist soundbites preferring to emphasize trade’s economic and geostrategic promise. ALEC can think of no one more deserving of the Aztec Eagle than Rep. David Dreier and we commend Mexico for conferring this honor on a great American champion of free markets and international visionary.