Kaptur statement on release of new NAFTA agreement

October 1, 2018
Press Release

Toledo, Ohio – Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Dean of the Ohio Delegation and a leader in the initial fight to prevent NAFTA from being enacted, released the following statement after text of a modernized trade deal between the United States, Canada, and Mexico was released.

“Ohio has been a bull’s eye of destruction due to the original NAFTA. Town after town lost good jobs at good wages and benefits. I voted against the original NAFTA and its vast US job outsourcing and wage drag, and have witnessed firsthand as dire predictions came true for too many of our fellow citizens. Our nation lost thousands of jobs to penny wage environments where workers could not even afford to buy what they made. The original NAFTA fueled massive migration from Mexico’s countryside to our nation because thousands of small farms there were extinguished. What a tragedy. In the nearly three decades since, we have not had even one year of balanced trade accounts, vivid evidence of a trade agreement that failed America’s workers and communities as plant after plant shut down. In this wake, a modern agreement to correct these injustices is long-overdue. On first glance, it appears this Administration has made incremental progress on goals long championed to uplift North American workers devastated by the original agreement. However, the devil is in the details, the jury is out on this new deal. Trade with our closest neighbors is not simply a zero sum game.”

“Any new North American trade agreement must raise wages and create a level playing field across the board. The threats and bluster in which President Trump has engaged have real consequences for jobs and Americans throughout the Heartland states, particularly in auto and farm country. The American people are not interested in faulty, half negotiations that look good on paper but fail to live up to the promises the President and his team made on the campaign trail.”

“Now four weeks before a major election in our country and two months before a new, pro-worker president is inaugurated in Mexico the Trump administration puts forth the amended deal posting it at the 11th hour and without Congressional input up to this point. With the release of text, which remains unfinished and unresolved in some important places, comes the task to determine whether the job outsourcing bonanza that has taken hold since NAFTA’s passage in 1994 has truly been addressed. Have strong labor standards been included, subject to swift and certain enforcement, so corporate interests do not continue to outsource American jobs to take advantage of rock-bottom Mexican wages? To rush any deal of such magnitude through negotiations for the sake of electoral timelines rather than necessary and substantive achievements, is a disservice to our constituents and in the end will not succeed. American workers deserve a complete picture of where Trump’s NAFTA is headed.” Kaptur concluded.

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