Kaptur statement on Trump Administration’s letter announcing intentions for NAFTA renegotiation

May 18, 2017
Press Release
Kaptur joined House Democrats at press conference to discuss announcement

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) today issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s notice to Congress that he intends to renegotiate NAFTA:

“This is when the rubber meets the road, Mr. President. You made a promise to workers in Ohio and across our great Nation. I intend to fight every day to ensure you live up to that promise.

“When NAFTA was first negotiated, as with the failed TPP, corporate influence far outweighed the concerns of workers and environmental and human rights advocates. Workers on both sides of the border have been battered by NAFTA: from the Mexican farmer, to the steelworker in Lorain, to the autoworker in Cleveland. Any new agreement must include a continental compact to ensure rising wages for working people, not padded corporate profits.

“NAFTA has proven to be a failure in many aspects, especially considering nearly a million American manufacturing jobs were lost since NAFTA’s signing. John Charles Salak said that ‘Failure is divided into two classes -- those that thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.’ NAFTA is truly a failure of those who did and never thought.

“Indeed, the jobs and trade issue has become so important to our nation that it became the tipping point for this past Presidential election in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. Across the industrial heartland working men and women have paid the greatest price of trade deficits with outsourced jobs, lowered incomes -- Northern Ohio has experienced a loss of $7,000 in annual average salaries -- and fewer economic opportunities. Renegotiating NAFTA is an opportunity to rectify their struggles.

“The question remains whether President Trump will follow through as he promised them.”

Kaptur welcomed the movement to renegotiate NAFTA and emphasized support for the inclusion of several points:  

  • Rebalance NAFTA trade account by setting specific goals and means to rebalance the U.S. - NAFTA trade account by 2025.
  • Negotiate robust continental environmental and phytosanitary standards.
  • ‎Negotiate high labor standards and provisions to eliminate labor trafficking including penalty provisions on the host nation.
  • It must not overtly favor corporations. Now, corporations can abuse tribunals, such as the investor-state dispute settlement tribunals, to ensure favorable treatment.
  • Agricultural readjustment‎ for Mexico's dispossessed millions of farmers and negotiate provisions to allow the ability to regain property in their country. NAFTA's major disruption of Mexico's agricultural‎ sector has resulted in millions of farmers without land or work.  

Additionally, Kaptur joined senior House Democrats to discuss the negotiations and how they intend to hold the Administration accountable and fight for working people as the U.S. heads toward serious negotiations. Watch that press conference here (Kaptur at 16:59 mark).

Kaptur has long fought against NAFTA and even challenged then-President Bill Clinton in 1996 at a rally in Toledo. Watch that video here.