Nafta's Top Problem: Mexico's Industrial Policy of Low Wages and No Rights

Oct 10, 2017 Issues: Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of the upcoming round of NAFTA negotiations, Rep. Sander Levin (MI-09) today released the following statement on Mexico’s policy of suppressing wages, which has resulted in the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs:

“With the fourth round of negotiations on revamping NAFTA beginning tomorrow in Washington, we must focus on the agreement's most basic flaw – its failure to protect U.S. jobs and wages from Mexico's industrial policy of suppressing its workers' wages. Labor rights were the main point of contention when NAFTA was debated 25 years ago, and it remains so today. While there are many important issues that should be addressed in the renegotiation of NAFTA, none of them will significantly change the trajectory of lost manufacturing jobs to Mexico unless this is fully addressed. 

“The issues and history surrounding NAFTA can sometimes be complex, but its impact on jobs in the U.S., especially in the auto sector, is not. We must correct this dynamic through a trade policy of mutual benefit that seeks rising wages in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. Anything less means just more of the same.”  

The chart below shows how very low wages in Mexico have hurt jobs and wages in the U.S. A pdf version of the chart is available here