STATEMENT on today’s news — U.S. administration tells Congress of intent to sign a trade agreement (w/ Mexico and potentially Canada)

More Work Needed on NAFTA for Working People & the Planet

Washington, D.C. — As the White House notified Congress of its plans to sign a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the United States’ largest coalition of labor, environmental, family farm, faith and consumer organizations working together to improve trade policy said more work is needed if the pact is to benefit working people and pass Congress with bipartisan support.

Citizens Trade Campaign’s Executive Director Arthur Stamoulis released the following statement:

“The only way a NAFTA replacement is going to benefit working people — and get through Congress with bipartisan support — is if it removes outsourcing incentives and adds tough, new labor and environmental provisions that are strong and enforceable enough to protect jobs, raise wages, defend human rights and safeguard the environment across our continent.  From the few details we’ve seen thus far, we believe more work is needed to get there. 

“Labor unions that have been briefed on some issues have warned that, while there has been progress in several areas, enforcement mechanisms for the proposal’s labor standards are seriously lacking.  That needs to be addressed if a new deal is going to stop outsourcing and the ongoing race-to-the-bottom in wages.  Environmental groups have similar concerns about the enforceability of environmental terms, as well as reported handouts for oil and gas corporations that could prolong NAFTA’s threats to our air, water and climate.

“While the various advisory committees have some information, the secretive process that the administration has chosen to employ in the negotiations obviously makes it difficult for the public to know what has and hasn’t been agreed upon thus far in other important areas, including access to medicine, food safety and more.  The administration should release all texts from these negotiations for public review immediately.  People have a right to know what has been proposed in their names, and to weigh in on any issues that are not yet settled.

“The details of any ultimate deal matter tremendously.  Each day, NAFTA continues to destroy livelihoods, drive down wages and harm the environment in all three countries.  People in the United States, Mexico and Canada deserve a comprehensive NAFTA replacement that provides real relief, and all three governments must commit to achieving that together.”

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