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
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.
WASHINGTON—Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today released the following statement on the release of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Agreement:
Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) today applauded the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) final 4-0 vote confirming that the U.S. softwood lumber industry is materially injured by unfairly subsidized Canadian imports.
Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Greg Walden (OR-02) today applauded the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) final 4-0 vote confirming that the U.S. hardwood plywood industry has been, or is threatened to be, materially injured by unfairly subsidized Chinese imports.
Today’s ruling will activate final antidumping and countervailing duties on Chinese hardwood plywood imports as determined by the Department of Commerce earlier this year. The application of these duties will provide much-needed relief to Oregon mills.
In testimony before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Greg Walden (OR-02) today defended Oregon timber jobs against the dumping of cheap Chinese hardwood plywood products.
The lawmakers were there to support the investigation of unfairly traded Chinese hardwood plywood imports, an action which began as a result of a petition filed by U.S. hardwood plywood producers. Oregon is largest producer of hardwood plywood products in the country.