Statement | Trade

Written Comments on How to Make NAFTA Work for Working People

Ed Gresser
Trade Policy Staff Committee
United States Trade Representative
1724 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Chairman Gresser:

Please accept these written comments and request from the AFL-CIO to testify at the TPSC hearing to be held on June 27, 2017 on the topic of the “Negotiating Objectives Regarding Modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico” (Docket No. USTR-2017-0006) as announced in the Federal Register on May 23, 2017.

Name and Contact Information of Witness:

Thea Lee, appearing on behalf of
815 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Summary of Testimony:

The AFL-CIO recommends that the USTR incorporate a new approach to trade policy in NAFTA renegotiations, one that prioritizes benefits for working families, not simply benefits for multi-national or global enterprises. Equitable economic development, whether for the U.S., North America, or globally, requires fundamental changes to trade policy. It must promote international commerce while simultaneously promoting a virtuous cycle of wage-led growth and high standards of protection for working families and our very democracy. Its rules must promote investment in the domestic economies of the NAFTA countries rather than simply making it easier to relocate goods and services production elsewhere. Renegotiation must begin with a democratized, inclusive process and proceed from there to stronger and more effective protections for workers, consumers, domestic farmers, ranchers and manufacturers, and the environment. It will require not just tweaks around the edges, but new provisions to address the unsustainable U.S. trade deficit and promote an equitable economy with human dignity. If instead, NAFTA is simply updated with provisions borrowed from the TPP, working families in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada will continue to pay a high price in the form of suppressed wages, a more difficult organizing environment, and an eroding democracy, no matter how much global corporations profit.

Thank you.

Celeste Drake
On behalf of the AFL-CIO