Levin Statement on Trump Administration’s NAFTA Re-Negotiation Letter

Mar 30, 2017 Issues: Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), today released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s draft letter to Congress regarding their intention to begin re-negotiation of NAFTA that was leaked:

“It is appropriate that the Trump NAFTA re-negotiation letter came out in March because compared to his campaign rhetoric it is ‘in like a lion and out like a lamb.’

“One of the biggest shortcomings in NAFTA was its lack of enforceable labor standards. And in NAFTA implementation, we have seen that a major driver of job loss and wage stagnation in the U.S. is the large wage differential. The terrible labor conditions – laws and practices – in Mexico have completely distorted the market. Consider that Mexican manufacturing productivity increased 80 percent, while real compensation—wages and benefits—actually slid 20 percent between 1994 and 2011.

“The Trump Administration should be insisting that Mexico change its labor laws now and bring its practices in compliance with internationally recognized labor standards. They must make it clear in the final letter to Congress that enforceable labor standards will be at the core of the re-negotiation, that Mexico will be required to come into compliance before Congress votes, and enhanced enforcement mechanisms will be available to us. There is time and the Administration should utilize it to change the conditions on the ground in Mexico.

“Under a Trump Administration, where the President encouraged auto jobs to flow to southern states for lower wages during the campaign , the introductory clause, ‘consistent with U.S. priorities and objectives’ as to what labor provisions they will seek in re-negotiations causes considerable alarm.

“The President set a high bar in his rhetoric about re-negotiating NAFTA, this letter falls short.”