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Rep. Peter DeFazio Statement on US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

Dec 19, 2019
Press Release

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.

“I voted against NAFTA, helped to lead efforts against it in the House of Representatives, and have spent my career fighting on behalf of the American worker. As a result, I have voted against every so-called free trade deal proposed to Congress since then—deals that have prioritized profits over people and inflicted harm on workers’ rights, consumer safety, and the environment.

“Working Americans have been waiting for more than two decades for the opportunity to fix NAFTA’s failed policies. For twenty-five years, I have been fighting for a truly transformative replacement that supports American workers while safeguarding the environment and protecting consumers. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is that transformative deal, and, as a result, I will vote against it.

“I am pleased that the agreement includes a number of improvements upon NAFTA, many of which I have long fought for and helped secure, including provisions that will better enable the U.S. to regulate cross-border trucking. However, I do not believe the overall package goes far enough to raise standards and protect workers, consumers, and the environment.

“The USMCA will not bring back the hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs that were lost to Mexico, nor will it stop the outsourcing of jobs that continues, because of their country’s deeply entrenched system of wage and rights suppression. Unless we enact a trade agreement that upends this system altogether, we will continue to hemorrhage American jobs to Mexico. I do not believe Mexico has devoted the funding or the staffing necessary for these changes, nor do I believe this agreement goes far enough in ensuring that workers and the U.S. have the remedies needed to prevent abuses from continuing to occur moving forward.

“Furthermore, I believe that the USMCA will continue to promote pro-polluter, climate-denying policies. This agreement should take bold steps to address climate change and to curb corporate polluting at a critical time when we need transformational solutions to address the existential threat of climate change.

“As I did under NAFTA, I will continue to push for robust oversight and enforcement of the USMCA’s labor and environmental standards, as weak as they are. I will also continue to fight for a truly transformative deal that sets a new standard for 21st century trade agreements.”

For Rep. DeFazio’s full Statement for the Record on the USMCA, click here.

BACKGROUND

Cross-border Trucking Services
After extensive work with USTR, Rep. DeFazio secured provisions in the USMCA that will better enable the U.S. to safeguard American 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. 

Labor Standards
DeFazio has pushed to raise wages and standards for Mexican workers, which would help ease the outsourcing of American jobs across our southern border. Mexico’s commitments fall short of what is necessary, and the USMCA does not contain adequate protections for these workers. Democratic and Republican administrations have shirked their responsibilities to fight for higher labor standards and fair trade policies, and the agreement does not do enough to prevent those kind of abuses moving forward.

Chapter 19
The Trump administration abandoned its original position to eliminate Chapter 19. DeFazio has long called for the elimination of this unconstitutional chapter which allows foreign tribunals to overrule U.S. trade protections against heavily subsidized foreign imports.

Environment
At its core, the agreement is one that will continue to promote pro-polluter, climate-denying policies. There are no substantive provisions to seriously curb air and water pollution, the deal completely ignores climate change, and its environmental enforcement mechanism is not nearly strong enough.

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