Congressman DeFazio has been a leader in fighting "free" trade agreements that have led to massive job loss, the withering of the U.S. manufacturing base, soaring trade deficits ($505 billion in 2014 alone), and the erosion of U.S. sovereignty, among other problems. He has voted against every free trade agreement, was a lead opponent of NAFTA, and is now working to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is still being negotiated.
Emergency Trade Deficit Commission Act
DeFazio authored legislation, which became law in 1998, to establish an Emergency Commission to End the Trade Deficit. The law established a panel to examine the failures of U.S. trade policy and suggest policy changes. The Commission split on ideological lines and issued its final report in November 2000.
Since then the trade deficit has swelled to record highs, as U.S. manufacturing has waned. DeFazio reintroduced the legislation and in July of 2010 it passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.
DeFazio authored legislation H.R. 3684, to amend the Buy American Act to include services. This legislation prohibits a foreign construction firm from bidding on federally financed projects when that firm's government prohibits foreign firms from competing in its own markets. The bill was included in the 1987 Omnibus Trade Bill, H.R.4848, which was signed into law on August 23, 1988.
Log Export Ban
Early in his congressional career when Oregon was suffering from a recession DeFazio proposed legislation, which was signed into law, to ban the export of raw logs from federal lands. The ban remains in place and has saved thousands of family-wage jobs.
In 2007, the Secretary of Transportation announced the Administration's intent to implement a one-year pilot program to allow up to 100 trucking companies from Mexico full access to U.S. highways. The Department of Transportation made clear that at the conclusion of the one-year pilot program, the US-Mexico border would be permanently open to Mexican trucks without any analysis of the impacts of the program.
As the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, DeFazio has been the most outspoken member of Congress in opposition to the Administration’s Mexican truck program. DeFazio led successful congressional efforts to block the pilot program in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Mexican government retaliated by slapping $2.4 billion in tariffs on American exports to Mexico. DeFazio asked the Obama Administration to renegotiate Article 1202 of NAFTA, which would eliminate the requirement to open our borders to Mexican trucks and would eliminate the retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico on the U.S.
The Obama Administration ignored the intent of Congress and moved forward with the pilot program. Additionally, the Administration recently announced that Mexican trucking companies could enter the U.S. for long-haul trips. DeFazio still has concerns about the safety and security of allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. highways as well as the associated job loss in the U.S. trucking industry. He will continue to fight to block implementation of the program.
Leading the Opposition to Free Trade Agreements (FTA)
DeFazio opposed NAFTA and the creation of the WTO. He has voted against every free trade agreement. He also led the opposition to "permanent normal trade relations" for China.
The U.S. is currently negotiating a massive trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). DeFazio is leading the opposition to the TPP, which will ship more jobs overseas and increase the U.S. trade deficit. He will continue to fight for a fair trade policy that benefits American workers, protects consumers and increases U.S. GDP.
Fighting Fast Track Trade Authority
Congress will again soon consider Trade Promotion Authority, or "fast track authority." DeFazio was part of the team in the House that defeated legislation to grant "fast track" trade authority to President Clinton. He also led the fight to stop President George W. Bush and is helping lead the charge to prevent President Barack Obama from receiving fast track authority.
Fast track authority grants power to the executive branch to negotiate free trade agreements with little congressional input. When a free trade agreement is submitted under fast track procedures Congress must pass it within 90 days with an up or down vote, no amendments, and limited debate. DeFazio believes it is critical to protect the constitutional prerogatives of Congress under Article I, Section 8, which states that Congress has the sole authority to regulate trade with foreign nations. That way, Congress can fully consider the agreements, determine the economic impacts, and amend them to protect American jobs and workers.
Battle rages over key Obama trade policy 4.30.15 The Washington Post
Congress' Critical Role on Trade 3.2.15 The New York Times
NYT's Joe Nocera on Politicians and Trade 1.24.15 Center for Economic Policy and Research
Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is a Pending Disaster 1.6.15. Huffington Post
Trans-Pacific Partnership Presentation from Prof. Gordon Lafer - 1.22.14 TPP Town Hall in Eugene, Oregon
These Three Free Trade Agreements Are Clunkers -- and They Need Some Courage- 7.12.11 Huffington Post
Business is Booming- 1.28.11 The American Prospect
The Plight of American Manufacturing- 12.21.09 The American Prospect
More on Trade
Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today released the following statement on the Trump Administration’s objectives for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
“I am pleased to see that the Trump administration took a hardline stance on the unconstitutional dispute settlement process laid out in Chapter 19 of the original agreement. Chapter 19 has wrought havoc on U.S. industries, in particular on the softwood lumber industry, and I have been pushing for its removal for decades.
Rep. Peter DeFazio today submitted comments pushing for worker protections and stronger labor and environmental standards in a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) set to be negotiated by the Trump Administration this year.
Rep. DeFazio, a member of the House Advisory Group on Negotiations (HAGON), submitted his resolution, ‘The Worker’s Bill of Rights’, to the U.S. Trade Representative as part of the public comment period for NAFTA negotiations.
Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement on President Trump’s notice to Congress that he would begin renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Deal (NAFTA):
WASHINGTON—Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Greg Walden (OR-02), Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) released the following statement in response to the Commerce Department’s announcement of preliminary countervailing duties on softwood lumber imports from Canada:
Supported by labor groups, trade stakeholders, and environmental groups, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today introduced a resolution that lays out the principles that must be included in any replacement of the disastrous North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today sent a letter to President Trump urging him to file a trade dispute with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for manipulating oil production.
For decades, OPEC has consistently manipulated the supply and price of oil, colluding to establish production levels in order to control prices in the world market. For the past twenty years Rep. DeFazio has asked the sitting President to bring a WTO dispute against OPEC member nations for these manipulations.
WASHINGTON—Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement on President Trump’s executive order to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership:
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of progressives in Congress, labor groups, activists, and dwindling public support, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) failed last year. The TPP would have been the last, biggest, worst trade deal in history.
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.
Washington, D.C. –Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today was pleased by the defeat of a trade package that would allow President Obama to push through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping trade agreement that would cost the American economy thousands of middle-class jobs and undermine U.S. laws protecting consumer rights and the environment.