In a press conference today led by Rep. Peter DeFazio and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a coalition of congressmen and organizations called on President-elect Trump to begin renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) within his first hundred days of taking office.
The group urged President-elect Trump to renegotiate the terms of the trade agreement so that they are more fair to working Americans and presented a “21st Century Workers’ Bill of Rights” containing the principles they want to see in any updated or future trade agreements.
The principles in the “21st Century Workers’ Bill of Rights” include:
– Eliminating incentives to send jobs overseas;
– Eliminating the dangerous ISDS provisions that undermine U.S. sovereignty;
– Ending the race to the bottom by requiring strong, enforceable labor & environmental standards;
– Adding strict, enforceable disciplines to fight currency manipulation;
– Requiring strong rules of origin on cars, auto parts and other manufactured goods;
– Eliminating procurement provisions that undermine Buy American; and
– Eliminate tribunals that undermine U.S. trade enforcement laws, such as NAFTA Chapter 19
“More than twenty years ago, Americans were promised that NAFTA would strengthen the middle class, but the exact opposite has happened,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR. “NAFTA served as the model for subsequent bad trade deals and despite repeated promises to the contrary, so-called free trade agreements have shipped millions of American jobs overseas and devastated American manufacturing. During the campaign, President-elect Trump promised to reform American trade policy, but a promise is not enough— the benchmarks in the 21st Century Workers’ Bill of Rights are the measure of success to reform U.S. trade policy and strengthen America’s working class.”
“When it comes to bad trade deals, no agreement has a longer record of failure than NAFTA. The consequences we warned of two decades ago have all come true,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Jobs have vanished. Employers have held wages down. Entire communities have lost their purpose, their identity. NAFTA has been a political failure and a policy disaster. We are ready to fix it.”
“It’s all well and good that President-elect Trump says he won’t revive the TPP that already had no chance of passing Congress,” said Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, “but the real test will be whether he ends negotiations now underway for more TPP-style pacts – the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement and the U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty – and replaces NAFTA and other existing pacts with trade policies that put working people and healthy communities first.”
Throughout his time in Congress, Rep. DeFazio has fought against unjust trade policies that put our consumer safety, environmental quality, and manufacturing jobs at risk. He has repeatedly pushed back against failed policies that have endangered Americans in the name of so called “free” trade.