American workers have waited long enough
“NAFTA’s shortcomings were evident when signed,” then-Sen. Barack Obama said on the campaign trail in 2008. “We must now amend the agreement to fix them.”
He didn’t. Instead, Washington continued its long tradition of paying lip service to American workers—and then turning around and standing up for global capital instead.
President Donald J. Trump kept his promise. Now it’s time for Congress to keep theirs.
Last November, President Trump joined our North American allies in signing the new U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade deal that modernizes NAFTA while securing stronger protections for American labor. Last month, Mexico’s legislature became the first to overwhelmingly pass the new deal into law. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau traveled to Washington the very next day, urging Democrat leaders in Congress to join President Trump in making USMCA a reality.
American workers have waited long enough for Washington to fix NAFTA. “That outdated trade deal has hurt middle-class Americans, stifled innovation and left entire communities shuttered as jobs and opportunity have moved south of the border,” Vice President Mike Pence wrote in The Washington Post over the weekend.
USMCA guarantees the strongest labor protections of any U.S. trade agreement. It ensures fair wages in all three countries and gives Mexican workers real collective bargaining rights—a move that finally puts American unions on a level playing field.
The new deal also eliminates the NAFTA loophole that allows foreign car companies to buy auto parts from China or Europe, assemble them in Mexico, and then sell those vehicles duty-free in the United States. With USMCA, “we will require at least 75 percent of a car to be built with parts genuinely made in North America for it to be sold duty-free,” the Vice President writes.
“And for the first time ever, we will require at least 40 percent of a duty-free car to be made by workers earning at least an average of $16 an hour.”
In addition to factory workers, USMCA will boost America’s farmers, ranchers, energy producers, digital and technology workers, and other middle-class families.
“For years, members of Congress have demanded a replacement for NAFTA. Now they finally have the best replacement that they could ever even imagine,” President Trump told workers in Wisconsin last Friday.
“So on behalf of our nation’s loyal, hardworking citizens, I’m calling on Congress to pass USMCA and send it to my desk immediately for signature. We shouldn’t be playing around.”
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