Pascrell Laments Trump’s Renegotiated NAFTA Signing
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, today again assailed the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico as it was signed into law at the White House.
“Despite the administration’s artificial hoopla, this signing is no cause for celebration,” said Rep. Pascrell, a longtime critic of NAFTA and many free trade agreements. “The deal consummated in 1994 has been an albatross around the neck of American workers for a generation. We had a unique chance to make it right during these renegotiations by putting American workers in the driver’s seat. This so-called redo does not do that.
“We do not know if Mexico will fully enforce their labor laws or whether Mexico’s sham protection unions will be eliminated. We do not expect the deal will raise wages for American workers or stop offshoring American jobs. That questions on these issues remain unanswered is preposterous. Our pressure certainly made some progress, but not nearly enough. A pyrrhic victory, I fear American workers will be left holding the bag again.”
Rep. Pascrell has been a leader in Congress on trade issues. Pascrell has been deeply involved in the NAFTA renegotiations, traveling to talks in both Montreal and Mexico City in 2018 and working with the U.S. Trade Representative to ensure the perspectives of American workers and businesses are heard and accounted for in any agreement.
Pascrell has repeatedly emphasized that any new NAFTA agreement must contain: strong enforceable labor provisions that can be implemented and then monitored meaningfully; environmental standards that block companies from polluting; and reforms to ensure that public welfare measures and the rights of sovereign governments are not unfairly undermined by international tribunals, among other areas.
In January 2018, Rep. Pascrell led 183 House Democrats urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to prioritize Mexican labor reforms in NAFTA renegotiations. In August 2018, Pascrell wrote to then-Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (D-TX-08) calling on him to assemble the House Advisory Group on Negotiation (HAGON) to advise the Trump administration as it continued the NAFTA renegotiations. In November 2018, Pascrell and former Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI-09) wrote to the U.S. Trade Representative and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta highlighting anti-worker violence and intimidation in Mexico. In April 2019, Pascrell led 85 of his colleagues again calling on Ambassador Lighthizer to demand that Mexico pass meaningful labor reforms before consideration of any renegotiated NAFTA.