For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Matthew Groch, mgroch@citizen.org, (202) 454-5111

Signing of NAFTA 2.0 Does Not End Fight for Progressive Improvements to the Agreement

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

WASHINGTON - Note: Representatives of Canada, Mexico and the United States are expected to meet tomorrow on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires to formally sign the NAFTA 2.0 text that was published on Sept. 30.

The NAFTA 2.0 text that is being signed contains some improvements that progressives have long demanded, some damaging terms we have long opposed and some important unfinished business.

If I had to grade the agreement now, I’d give it an incomplete because more work is needed to ensure swift and certain enforcement of the pact’s labor and environmental standards among other essential improvements necessary to stop NAFTA’s ongoing damage to workers and the environment. 

President Donald Trump and commentators who don’t know better are likely to place undue significance on this ceremonial event, but the signing is simply the next step in an ongoing process that must produce a final deal that can win majority support in Congress.

As is, the agreement falls short of the changes needed to stop NAFTA’s ongoing job outsourcing, downward pressure on our wages and attacks on environmental safeguards, but there is a path to improving it so a final NAFTA package could win wide support.

A new NAFTA can go into effect only if majorities of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate approve it next year. Given the results of the midterm elections, only a final deal that can earn Democratic support will get through Congress.

If trade officials work with congressional Democrats, unions and others on the improvements needed to stop NAFTA’s ongoing job outsourcing and environmental damage and raise wages, a final deal could achieve broad support next year. Of course, who knows what lunatic things unrelated to trade that Donald Trump might do in the meantime to derail that prospect.

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