Neal, Pascrell Statements on Updated NAFTA Agreement
WASHINGTON, DC – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) today issued the following statements after the Trump Administration announced that the United States and Canada reached an agreement on terms, together with terms agreed to earlier with Mexico, to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
“Last month, I noted that a lot of important work remains to be done in the NAFTA renegotiation. That is still true today.
“I welcome the announcement by the Administration that the deal now includes Canada. But our collective examination of the deal will be beginning only now, with the Administration’s publication of new NAFTA text.
“There are important questions that Members of Congress, stakeholders, and the American people need answered. Most importantly, we will need to assess whether this agreement makes real improvements to the terms of the existing NAFTA or President Obama’s TPP, especially when it comes to the enforcement and enforceability of the agreement’s provisions, including the provisions that have always been critical to Democratic support – the ones that provide for worker rights and environmental protections.
“The bar for supporting a new NAFTA will be high. NAFTA has had many critics over the years and its flaws are well-known. Like me, many of my colleagues did not support the deal originally. And those who did will have serious questions that they need answered before doing so again.”
“I have been a vocal critic of the NAFTA agreement since I entered Congress. Fixing NAFTA means fixing it for all three countries of the North American continent. Today, as the Administration publishes new NAFTA text, the Administration is announcing that it now also has agreed terms with Canada. This means we are all seeing what the Administration calls a full deal for the first time right now.
“After more than two decades of little action, I look forward to scrutinizing the new NAFTA deal that the Administration has promised will finally ‘rebalance’ the agreement. In my view, the first step to fixing NAFTA’s flaws is to address inadequate Mexican labor standards. I’m particularly interested in reviewing the details of the labor chapter and labor annex with Mexico and whether this agreement holds out the promise for creating jobs and raising wages for Mexican and American workers. I am not interested in supporting a new deal that has all of the flaws of the old deal baked into it. As we look to remaking the rules for the future economy, American workers, families, and companies deserve something much, much better.”