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Neal, Pascrell Statements on USTR NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives

July 17, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) today released the following statements after the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published a summary of objectives for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

Ranking Member Neal:

“The summary of objectives published today raises more questions than it answers. In certain areas, there continues to be a complete lack of clarity or specificity, suggesting the Administration may not even know what it wants in a new NAFTA. And in other areas, the objectives reveal an approach to trade negotiations that looks like the same, conventional approach taken in previous trade agreements – suggesting that the “new” NAFTA might not be new at all. 

“The gravest concern, however, raised by today’s summary is that the Administration is seeking to modernize NAFTA without any plan for how it will create jobs, raise living standards, and help hardworking, middle-class families in America. I urge the Administration to figure out its game plan quickly and actually work closely with Congress to make sure that there are good answers for these questions.”

Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Pascrell:

“Oddly, the President and I were in agreement when he promised to re-negotiate NAFTA to get a better deal for American workers and bring good-paying jobs back to our manufacturing base. But today’s negotiating objectives reads like President Trump is only seeking to bevel the edges of a trade pact in need of an overhaul. In fact, it looks as if he wants to take the contents of the TPP, a deal he rejected in his first week in office, and call it NAFTA. Lax labor laws and low wages abroad and currency manipulation have allowed other countries to hollow out American manufacturing and sap our economy of jobs – so the NAFTA objectives need to put these issues front and center. We need real change in our trade agreements, but the Trump Administration seems more interested in selling American workers a bill of goods while they pursue policies that protect the status quo.”