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DeLauro and House Democrats Respond to Trump’s Plan to Renegotiate NAFTA

May 18, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC (May 18, 2017) Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today joined House Democrats to discuss President Trump’s plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Today, the Trump Administration officially notified Congress that it plants to renegotiate the trade agreement.

Click here to watch the full remarks.

Here are the remarks, as delivered:

Good afternoon and I want to say thank you to all of you for being here today, a particular thank you to my colleagues for joining, and there will be a few others who will be joining as well.

Today, the Trump Administration submitted their official notice that they intend to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. As the process moves forward, House Democrats will be focused on both the content of the new deal and who is involved in the negotiations.

NAFTA’s ongoing damage to good paying jobs must end. This Administration cannot rely on corporate advisors and lobbyists as past Administrations have done. They must produce a rewritten NAFTA that puts working Americans ahead of corporations.

President Trump called NAFTA the worst deal “in the history of the world” while he was on the campaign trail. NAFTA needs far more than “tweaking.” The Administration can start by ending the special investor rules that make it easier to offshore good paying American jobs. These same rules in NAFTA subject our domestic laws to tribunals of three corporate lawyers who can put at risk unlimited sums of taxpayer money.

NAFTA and other bad trade policy such as allowing China’s ascension to the World Trade Organization have decimated U.S. manufacturing, and the communities that depend upon manufacturing jobs. According to senior economist Robert Scott at the Economic Policy Institute, NAFTA has cost us over 685,000 jobs, most of which were in manufacturing. When given the chance to follow through on his promise to declare China a currency manipulator, President Trump flip-flopped, despite the $347 billion trade deficit with China.

If corporations are allowed to write the rules in the NAFTA renegotiation, the agreement could become even more damaging for our families. Today, already, the 500 corporate trade advisors that crafted the misguided Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement have been consulted on renegotiations—while the voices of labor, the environment, and even the Congress have been left in the dark about the goals of the new NAFTA.

I am deeply concerned about President Trump’s conflicts of interest. The Trump Organization has 14 Canadian and 2 Mexico investments. If the President will not divest of his business holdings or release his tax returns, we cannot know in whose interest these talks are being conducted. We demand a transparent process—our President’s historic conflicts of interest make it more vital than ever.

President Trump cannot pass a trade agenda without the help of Democrats. The Democrats defeated the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. He needs to take seriously the priorities of the working Americans who drove the election on trade during this election.

We must shift the paradigm of fair trade in this country. We must pursue fair trade that puts working Americans first, that fosters inclusive growth. This coalition will remain united in our fight to deliver that change. Implementing a new model will not be easy—but with so much that is on the line it is our obligation and responsibility to put the American people first. We will fight any NAFTA renegotiation that does not meet these goals. Again I thank you all for being here.