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Draft NAFTA Renegotiation Plan in Official Fast Track Notice Letter Would Not Fulfill Trump’s Pledge to Make NAFTA ‘Much Better’ for Working People or Enjoy a Congressional Majority

Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

For those who trusted Trump’s pledge to make NAFTA “much better” for working people, it’s a punch in the face because the proposal could have come from any past pro-NAFTA administration and describes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or any other same-old trade deal.

If this is Trump’s plan for renegotiating NAFTA – expanding the investor protections that promote job offshoring plus maintaining the ban on Buy American and the foreign tribunals that can attack U.S. laws – he will have broken his campaign promises to make NAFTA better for working Americans and will have a deal that cannot get a majority in Congress.

This is the sort of corporations-first, not-better-for-working-Americans agenda that results from Trump’s decision to keep the same closed-door process and the 500 corporate advisers that got us into the original NAFTA and TPP debacles. Already, the corporate trade advisers have been consulted on the NAFTA agenda in a meeting two weeks ago, while the few labor advisers included in the system were shut out. But for this leaked document, the public and Congress are being left in the dark about negotiating plans and goals.


A draft of the formal notice to Congress of intent to launch trade negotiations required under Fast Track leaked out on Wednesday. The text of the notice letter to Congress outlines a negotiating agenda that is largely what was contained in the final text of the TPP, an agreement that Trump excoriated on the campaign trail. The letter includes some shocking points:

  • After promising to stop job offshoring and “bring back” manufacturing jobs to the United States, Trump’s plan not only would maintain the investor protections in NAFTA and investor-state enforcement tribunals, but calls for expanding protections U.S. investors would have for relocating investment offshore. (This is written in coded language in the investment section of the document.)
  • After promising a Buy American, Hire American agenda, Trump’s plan would maintain the NAFTA rules that require the United States to waive Buy American and other domestic procurement preferences so that American tax dollars are also offshored instead of being reinvested domestically to create jobs at home.
  • Language on intellectual property and access to medicines, financial services deregulation, food standards and product safety reflects the TPP standard that was extremely harmful to consumer interests.
  • The language on labor and environment standards describes the TPP terms that Democrats in Congress and unions uniformly rejected.