Rep. Peter DeFazio Submits “Worker’s Bill of Rights” to U.S. Trade Representative as Part of Public Comment Period on NAFTA Renegotiation
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.
The Trump Administration issued a notification letter indicating their intent to renegotiate the terms of the trade agreement on May 18. The letter contained few specifics on how the administration plans to conduct the negotiations with the two other countries in the agreement, Mexico and Canada, or what the intended results of the negotiations are.
“I’ve been fighting for nearly twenty-five years against NAFTA and the disastrous impact it’s had on working Americans,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “I was disappointed and concerned when I saw the vague, confusing letter that the Trump Administration released notifying their intent to renegotiate the deal. This is the best opportunity we’ve been given in a quarter-century to fix our failed U.S. trade policy so that it helps, not hurts, American workers—we cannot squander this chance.”
The Worker’s Bill of Rights outlines the principles that labor unions, environmental groups, and fair trade advocates agree must be included in any new version of NAFTA. Principles listed in the resolution include protections for Buy America and other domestic procurement provisions, ending the damaging Investor State Dispute Settlement process, eliminating the dangerous NAFTA Ch. 19, which has decimated the U.S. softwood lumber industry, and requiring foreign operators to comply with U.S. transportation laws.
The principles laid out in Rep. DeFazio’s resolution direct that any NAFTA replacement deal negotiated by President Trump must:
- Require Strong Labor & Environmental Standards—and Ensure They are Enforced
- Add Strict, Enforceable Disciplines to Fight Against Currency Manipulation
- Eliminate Provisions that Undermine Domestic Procurement Preferences
- 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
Rep. DeFazio has met with both the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to urge them to ensure any new trade agreement puts American workers first.
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