Trump's NAFTA Plan Betrays Workers and the Planet

July 18, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Trump’s NAFTA Plan Breaks Promises, Betrays Working People and the Environment

Photo Credit: Matt A.J.

The Trump administration’s NAFTA renegotiation plan fails to live up to his promises to replace NAFTA with a deal that works for working families.  It also falls far short of the replacement plan that civil society groups and the California Trade Justice Coalition championed which would put people and the environment first.

“NAFTA has been a disaster for working people and their families,” said Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation. “Any renegotiation must prioritize strong protections for workers and the environment, and eliminate the ban on Buy American programs.  The last thing we need is another business-as-usual deal benefiting wealthy corporate CEOs at the expense of America’s working people.”

Trump’s plan does not mandate the strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards needed to protect jobs at home and human rights abroad. It doesn’t propose eliminating NAFTA’s special investor protections for corporations that make it easier to offshore jobs and to attack our laws. It doesn’t even state that these talks will eliminate NAFTA’s ban on ‘Buy America’ government purchasing preferences.  It also does not contain anything for immigrants, family farmers, consumer safety or access to medicine.

“President Trump’s negotiating objectives fall far short of what’s needed to stop the bleeding of American jobs, revitalize our manufacturing sector, or enact strong, enforceable labor standards across North America,” said Robert LaVenture, Director of the United Steelworkers, District 12. “We need to replace NAFTA with a new deal that lifts up working families while protecting our environment.”

There is a stronger-than-ever need for real transparency in these and other trade negotiations moving forward.  We support bipartisan calls for transparent trade negotiations in order to provide Congress, the public and the press with full access to U.S. proposals and draft composite texts.

“President Trump has broken his promises to California’s working families in order to protect the profits of the very same corporate interest that pushed for NAFTA in the first place. We will continue to demand that the Trump Administration follow the wishes of the American people in creating a trade deal that works for all Americans, not just the 1 percent,” said Will Wiltschko, Director of the California Trade Justice Coalition.


On the Environment:

“Trump’s statement indicates he plans to step up his war on public health and the planet by modeling NAFTA’s provisions related to environmental regulation on the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),” said William Waren, Senior Trade Analyst with Friends of the Earth. “These objectives appear to set the stage for a stealth attack on strong regulation of food, agriculture, chemicals, and biotechnology.”

— William Waren, Senior Trade Analyst, Friends of the Earth

On Access to Medicines:

“The Trump Administration’s NAFTA goals reinforce one of the worst components of many global trade deals, elevating corporate profits above public health. Unless NAFTA makes medicines more accessible and affordable across borders, millions could face death or substantial harm by being deprived of access to life-saving medication.”

— Malinda Markowitz, Co-President, California Nurses Association

On Worker Protection:

“The Trump Administration’s plan for NAFTA renegotiation fails to mention anything about removing the undemocratic Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) currently found in Chapter 11 of the deal. ISDS creates a separate legal system that benefits foreign investors, causes job offshoring and lower wages, undermines the rule of law, and has led to some of the most egregious cases of corporate exploitation of workers in the last few decades. Bottom line: any renegotiated NAFTA deal will remain an anti-worker agreement as long as it includes ISDS.”

— Robert Longer, Communications Workers of America – D9

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