WASHINGTON — Saying he has the support of labor groups, trade stakeholders and environmental groups, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., has introduced a resolution that lays out the principles that he says must be included in any replacement of what DeFazio calls “the disastrous” North American Free Trade Agreement.
“For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, we have an opportunity to replace NAFTA and build a fair-trade policy that works for all Americans,” DeFazio said. “After working with labor stakeholders and fair trade advocates, we have come up with principles that will serve as the foundation of a sustainable trade policy that will bring jobs back to the U.S. while protecting America’s environment, workers, consumers, and sovereignty.”
The resolution has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said DeFazio’s resolution provided a roadmap for the U.S. Trade Representative and the administration to follow “if they truly want to fix this broken trade agreement.
“Free trade agreements like NAFTA have undermined our manufacturing industry for decades, sending millions of jobs overseas. It is long past time to negotiate fair trade agreements that protect working families and provide good jobs here in America,” Hoffa said.
“As we’ve said all along in regards to renegotiating NAFTA, ‘the devil’s in the details,’” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “The blueprint being laid out today puts working people first. It promotes trade policies that create jobs, raise wages, breathe life into our communities and expand the American Dream. We are ready to move forward with a new direction on trade and this is just the beginning.”
The resolution has been endorsed by: AFL-CIO, Teamsters, United Steelworkers (USW), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), Communications Workers of America (CWA), Public Citizen, and Citizens Trade Campaign.
The principles laid out in Rep. DeFazio’s resolution, called the Blueprint for America’s Future Trade Policy, direct that any NAFTA replacement deal negotiated by President Donald Trump must:
• Require strong labor and environmental standards, and ensure they are enforced
• Add strict, enforceable disciplines to fight against currency manipulation
• Eliminate procurement provisions that undermine Buy America
• Require imports and foreign companies operating in the U.S. to adhere to U.S. Laws
• Lower the cost of prescription drugs
• End tribunals that undermine U.S. trade enforcement laws, such as NAFTA’s Chapter 19
• Require foreign operators to comply with U.S. transportation laws
• Require strong rules of origin on cars, auto parts and other manufactured goods
• Eliminate the dangerous ISDS provision that undermines U.S. sovereignty
• Protect U.S. energy policy
The resolution directs Trump to initiate the renegotiation of NAFTA no later than June 1.
All of the provisions included in the resolution must be agreed to by Mexico, Canada and the U.S. before the agreement can be approved.
If negotiations are not completed and all the provisions outlined in the resolution agreed to within one year of beginning talks, the resolution directs the president to consider withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA.