More Work Needed on NAFTA Renegotiation

Trade negotiators from the U.S. and Mexico announced recently that they’ve come to a basic understanding on how to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — but labor partners who have seen some of the secret texts are warning that, “There is more work that needs to be done to deliver the needed, real solutions to NAFTA’s deeply ingrained flaws.”
And with Canada not yet having signed on to even that initial framework, the ultimate renegotiation could still go in multiple directions.
Citizens Trade Campaign and over a thousand civil society organizations from the labor, environmental, family farm, civil rights, faith, and consumer movements have been very clear on what’s needed in these negotiations if we’re going to protect jobs at home, protect human rights abroad and raise wages and improve environmental conditions across the continent.


Among other things, any NAFTA replacement needs to add strong, new labor and environmental standards with swift and certain enforcement.  And it needs to eliminate the harmful Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system that threatens jobs, the environment and public health.


Nothing short of that criteria will prevent corporations from continuing to outsource good-paying jobs in order to take advantage of sweatshop working conditions and lax environmental protections abroad.  We won’t accept anything less, and we need our elected officials in Congress to make crystal clear that they won’t accept anything less either.


Corporate lobbyists whose clients have benefited from NAFTA’s race-to-the-bottom in wages, working conditions and sustainability would like nothing more than a superficial NAFTA renegotiation that further enshrines special rights for powerful interests while once again leaving working people and the planet in the lurch.


At this point, Members of Congress and Congressional candidates must join us in insisting on a comprehensive NAFTA replacement that meets the long-voirced demands of working people in all three countries.  Please press them to do so now.  Together, we can make a difference.


UPDATE: On August 31, 2018, the Trump administration notified Congress of its intent to sign a revised NAFTA deal with Mexico — and Canada, if it is willing — in 90 days.  The negotiations continue, and more work is needed if the pact is to benefit working people and the planet.  CTC’s press statement is online here.