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, and the erosion of U.S. sovereignty, among other problems. He has voted against every free trade agreement, was a lead opponent of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), fought against President Obama’s disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), worked to improve the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).
As someone who has spent their entire career fighting on behalf of the American worker, Congressman DeFazio knows Congress can and must do more to address the very real frustrations of Americans whose lives have been devastated by trade policies that put corporate profits over working people. He will always fight to ensure there is a level playing field for American workers.
Leading the Opposition to Free Trade Agreements (FTA)
World Trade Organization (WTO)
Congressman DeFazio was a strong opponent of the WTO and opposed the U.S. joining the WTO.
Since its establishment in 1995, but even more so since China joined in 2001, the WTO’s ban on Buy American and other domestic procurement preferences, its protections for foreign investors, and its lack of rules against currency manipulations and other forms of unfair trade practices have promoted the outsourcing of American production capacity and decimated well-paying jobs.
Since the WTO’s creation, the U.S. has lost roughly five million manufacturing jobs, sixty thousand U.S. factories have shuttered, and the U.S. goods and services trade deficit has exploded.
That’s why Congressman DeFazio has introduced legislation to withdraw the U.S. from the WTO. Despite House leadership blocking his efforts, Congressman DeFazio is committed to robust debate over the WTO’s impact on U.S. jobs.
NAFTA and USMCA
Congressman DeFazio voted against NAFTA. Economic advisers to President Clinton predicted that if the U.S. passed NAFTA, the U.S. would enjoy trade surpluses between $9-$12 billion and create thousands of new jobs. DeFazio knew that would not happen. The reality was the loss of an estimated one million family-wage jobs in the U.S.
Congressman DeFazio supported President Trump’s promise to deliver a dramatically improved NAFTA or withdraw from the agreement altogether. However, the original version of the USMCA that the Trump administration delivered to Congress was nothing more than a continuation of NAFTA’s same failed policies.
After months of extensive negotiations between House Democrats and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), important improvements were made to the USMCA on a number of issues, including improvements Congressman DeFazio helped secure.
While the USMCA is an improvement from NAFTA, DeFazio voted against the USMCA because the agreement failed working Americans who have been left behind by NAFTA’s failed policies. Americans need a truly transformative deal that will stop the hemorrhaging of U.S. jobs and support American workers while safeguarding the environment and protecting consumers. Despite his opposition, the USMCA is now in effect, and DeFazio will work to sure the terms of the agreement are fully enforced and that any and all flaws are appropriately addressed should the USMCA be renegotiated.
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
DeFazio supported President Trump’s withdrawal from the TTP. If enacted, it would have led to massive U.S. job losses, undermined U.S. sovereignty, and rewarded countries that have lax environmental, food safety, and labor laws. In fact, the ultimate goal of this agreement was to get China to join. An FTA with China would spell the end of our domestic manufacturing sector.
Congressman DeFazio will continue to fight for fair trade policies that benefit American workers, protects consumers and the environment, and increases U.S. GDP.
Standing Up to Chinese Trade Abuses
DeFazio has a long history of standing up to Chinese trade abuses. He ardently opposed China’s admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and fought against granting them most-favored-nation status, which they continually use to file arbitrary complaints against the U.S. when we attempt to enforce our own trade laws.
For years, DeFazio has urged both Democratic and Republican administrations to hold the Chinese government accountable for its abusive and unfair practices, and year after year, Republican and Democratic administrations have shirked their responsibilities. China’s discriminatory trade and industrial policies and U.S. failure to confront these policies have led to millions of U.S. jobs lost, gutted communities across our nation, cost U.S. innovators billions each year, facilitated deplorable human rights conditions in China, and have helped finance China’s massive military build-up.
DeFazio has long pushed for American leaders to effectively stand up to China in order to secure substantive, enforceable, and permanent structural reforms. This includes utilizing the full range of tools at our disposal to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal that goes beyond merely recalibrating the massive trade imbalance with China to create security for American jobs, our public health, and long-term economic prosperity. Any trade deal with China must address the predatory tactics at the heart of our trade issues, including the theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets, the coercion of companies to engage in the transfer of technology, massive Chinese government subsidies to their emerging industries, flooding global markets with cheap imports, and more.
DeFazio has worked tirelessly throughout his career to ensure the U.S. maintains robust Buy American standards.
He 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.
More recently, the House passed Congressman DeFazio’s bill – H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. DeFazio worked in a bipartisan manner to include strong Buy American provisions, and, as a result, the bill which passed the House includes some of the strongest Buy American provisions ever passed.
Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im)
DeFazio has long fought for a national manufacturing strategy to advance U.S. interests, and fairly compete with China and other countries with lax labor standards, which both Republican and Democratic administrations have shirked their responsibility to do so.
While some have called for elimination of the Export-Import Bank, we must first dramatically reform our failed free trade policies before we can eliminate the Export-Import Bank, which helps to protect American workers from those same failed trade policies.
Early termination of this program would threaten the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers - particularly small and medium-sized manufacturers that support working Americans and their families with good-paying, middle-class jobs. Closure of this bank would send more American jobs overseas as nearly 90 percent of Export-Import Bank transactions directly support U.S. small business.
Since 2014, Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District has received $244 million in total export value from the EXIM.
The Ex-Im Bank operates at no cost to the taxpayer, and since 1992, Ex-IM has generated $9.6 billion in revenues for U.S. taxpayers above what the Bank has received. As the official export credit agency of the United States, the U.S. Export-Import Bank assists in financing U.S. exports from thousands of American companies and helps our exporters compete against sales financed by foreign export credit agencies.
Simply put, until foreign nations – like China – stop subsidizing their exports to the U.S., DeFazio won’t back down on our efforts to boost U.S. exports.
Raw 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.
Included in the original NAFTA, Chapter 19 allows foreign tribunals to overrule U.S. trade protections against heavily subsidized foreign imports. This has hurt a number of U.S. industries, including the softwood lumber industry. Oregon is the largest producer of softwood lumber.
DeFazio has long called for the elimination of this unconstitutional chapter and was disappointed that the Trump administration abandoned its original position to eliminate chapter 19 in the USMCA.
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.
As the Chair 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 multiple successful congressional efforts to block the pilot program across multiple administrations.
Congressman DeFazio is proud to have secured provisions in the USMCA that will better enable the U.S. to safeguard our roads. The deal includes language that allows the United States to restrict domestic long-haul services by Mexican trucks in the event of material harm to U.S. trucking suppliers, operators, and drivers. This restriction provides teeth to protect the U.S. trucking industry from unfair trade practices by Mexican motor carriers, and provides for consideration of impacts on driver wages and working conditions, to avoid a race to the bottom in trucking.
More on Trade
Chair Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Chair Frank Pallone (NJ-06) today introduced legislation to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement in response to President Trump’s State of the Union address:
Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement on the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement:
“Twenty-five years ago, when President Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), he promised the deal would mean good-paying American jobs. Unfortunately, those claims couldn’t have been further from the truth, and NAFTA has led to the loss of millions of American family-wage jobs over the past twenty-five years.
WASHINGTON—Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement on the announcement of the new North American trade deal between the US, Mexico and Canada (USMCA):
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today led 16 Members of Congress in letters to nearly two dozen multinational corporations and financial firms with business in Brazil, urging them to use their leverage to protect the Amazon Rainforest. In the letters, the lawmakers reminded the companies of their commitment to combatting deforestation under the New York Declaration on Forests and ask them to pressure Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to take immediate action to put an end to deforestation practices that are causing the ongoing destruction of the Amazon.
Washington, DC—U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) introduced legislation today to put pressure on Brazil to combat the record number of wildfires burning in the Amazon rainforest.
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today announced that he plans to introduce legislation to put pressure on Brazil to combat the record wildfires burning in the Amazon rainforest.
Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Greg Walden (OR-02) today applauded the decision by a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel to uphold the United States’ anti-dumping measures against unfairly subsidized Canadian softwood lumber imports.
Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement in response to President Trump’s State of the Union address:
“Tomorrow, President Trump will sign the text of NAFTA 2.0 along with Mexico and Canada. Although the president has repeatedly and emphatically stated that he would get rid of the disastrous trade policies of the last twenty-five years, this agreement promotes many of the same damaging provisions as its predecessor. As currently written, this agreement does not truly protect American jobs, American workers, or our environment.