News Release

NAFTA Renegotiation: Will Working People Continue to Get Shafted?

MANUEL PÉREZ-ROCHA, manuel at ips-dc.org, @ManuelPerezIPS
Just back in Washington, D.C. from Mexico, Pérez-Rocha is associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. His articles include “NAFTA Pushes Many Mexicans to Migrate.” Today at 2:00 p.m. ET he is featured on a webinar on the NAFTA renegotiations.

He said today: “We cannot allow the trade policies that replace it to put the interests of multinational corporations first, as the renegotiation of NAFTA under a Trump administration teeming with corporate interests is positioned to do. Trump has promised that the NAFTA renegotiation will create jobs in the United States, but if corporate elites are allowed to dictate the renegotiation, Trump’s false economic populism will result in Americans facing job loss, wage stagnation, and eroding working conditions, especially for low-income workers and workers of color. We need an internationalist approach to trade that lifts up labor rights, environmental standards, and human rights for people in all of the nations involved in the agreement, and provides good jobs for workers in the U.S. Trump wants to allow corporations to pit U.S. workers against other working communities in a global race to the bottom.”

LORI WALLACH, via Ufuoma Otu, uotu at citizen.org, @PCGTW
Wallach is director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

She said today: “We are calling on the administration to negotiate a new NAFTA deal that we can support — a deal that not only stops NAFTA’s ongoing damage, but that creates American jobs and raises wages. Congressional Democrats, unions, environmental and consumer groups have long demanded a specific set of changes to NAFTA to end its job offshoring incentives that, ironically, are necessary to deliver on President Trump’s campaign pledges to make NAFTA ‘much better’ for working people. Unless NAFTA’s investor privileges and Buy American procurement waiver that promote job offshoring are eliminated and strong, enforceable labor and environmental standards and tighter rules of origin are added, a new deal will not be better for working people, much less deliver on Trump’s promises to bring down the NAFTA trade deficit or create more American manufacturing jobs.

“The corporate lobby and Republican congressional leaders oppose the changes to NAFTA necessary to stop job offshoring, create good jobs and raise wages. Instead, they seek to double down on the old trade model and revive the TPP by adding to NAFTA elements of the TPP deal that Trump opposed.

“With talks starting, the administration must decide between the corporate lobby and working people. The administration approach either will expand the old job-killing model as the corporate lobby demands or it will replace NAFTA with a deal that creates jobs and raises wages as the American people expect. …

“NAFTA must be renegotiated just to stop its ongoing damage. But depending on how the administration conducts these talks, NAFTA could get worse for working people in all three NAFTA countries. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross talks about ‘doing no harm’ by not changing terms businesses support and ‘modernizing NAFTA’ by using the TPP as a ‘starting point.’ This is an approach that not only would fail to meet President Trump’s campaign pledges, but that would face a dead end in Congress. …

“Last week, 100 corporations and lobby groups sent a letter demanding [that] corporate protections not only remain, but are expanded. Elimination of NAFTA’s investor privileges and ISDS [investor-state dispute settlement] is the red line demand of hundreds of small businesses, unions, environmental, consumer, faith and other groups. The administration must decide between the corporate lobby and American workers. …”