Efforts to Fix NAFTA 2.0 Continue: Lori Wallach on Today’s Lighthizer Meeting with House Democrats on NAFTA 2.0

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

Note: Today, House Democrats’ NAFTA Working Group will meet with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer to discuss needed improvements to the NAFTA 2.0 deal that President Donald Trump signed last year. Terms Trump added to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would lock in high drug prices and, as is, the deal’s labor and environmental provisions are too weak to stop the outsourcing of jobs and pollution that is ongoing under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Regardless of the momentous revelations unfolding about the whistleblower’s complaint, consumer groups, unions and congressional Democrats continue to fight for changes to NAFTA 2.0 because we are committed to halting NAFTA’s ongoing damage to working people and the deal Trump signed won’t stop job outsourcing and would lock in high prescription drug prices.

Corporate coalitions, led by Big Pharma, are trying to ram Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 through Congress without changes because the deal locks in monopoly powers that allow pharmaceutical corporations to charge consumers high prices. The corporations that want to pay workers less and dump toxins do not want the deal’s labor and environmental standards and their enforcement improved because that could undermine their race-to-the-bottom outsourcing of jobs and pollution.

Contrary to Trump’s outlandish claims, not a single union is supporting Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 because it leaves open loopholes that make it easier for corporations to outsource jobs to pay workers less.

Fast Facts on the NAFTA 2.0 agreement Trump signed last year that requires improvements before Congress will consider enacting it:

  • Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 would lock the United States into policies that keep medicines, including critical cancer treatments, outrageously expensive.
  • Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 does not include adequate labor or environmental standards or enforcement to stop the ongoing outsourcing of more U.S. jobs and pollution.
  • After the U.S. government has certified almost one million U.S. jobs were lost to NAFTA nationwide, Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 would not raise wages here or in Mexico, as Trump promised, unless its labor provisions are strengthened and Mexico fully implements and funds promised labor reforms that mean workers there finally would have the right to bargain for better wages.

After corporations have grabbed almost $400 million in corporate Investor-State Dispute Settlement attacks on North American environmental and health policies, NAFTA 2.0 largely eliminates the outrageous corporate tribunal system. But a loophole would allow some U.S. oil and gas corporations to use the regime to attack Mexican environmental laws.