“These are the numbers just for the year of 2016. You can see how big the trade deficit is with Mexico, nearly $70 billion and with Canada, $8 billion. Now, that is up fourfold since back in the early nineties, before NAFTA was passed, when we already had a small trade deficit with those countries, but it has just exploded.
The original NAFTA fueled massive migration on the Mexican side from their countryside to our Nation as millions upon millions of small farmers’ livelihoods were extinguished in Mexico. Mexico’s white corn industry was decimated….” (Marcy Kaptur, Friday November 29, 2018)
Speech Link: http://youtu.be/2AHLGJd0nzY
Unmentioned in her speech: Automotive jobs which moved just across the border to Canada have benefitted from both the low value of the Canadian dollar, compared to the US dollar, and Canada’s out of control immigration policy. People from India, and probably elsewhere, have been known to offer to work for much less than the Canadian worker. Additionally, the free Canadian health-care system functions as a sort of subsidy to industry.
“Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, tomorrow President Trump will claim victory as the United States, Canadian, and Mexican officials gather to sign a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. But let us make no mistake, this is far from a finished deal.
Congress has the final say on trade. From where we stand today, what has been called NAFTA 2.0 still requires work to reach standards acceptable to the American people and American workers and companies.
How can any President claim this victory the same week General Motors announces the idling of five North American facilities, and as it cuts 15,000 living-wage jobs, including one in Lordstown, Ohio, not even counting the thousands and thousands more jobs that will be lost in the automotive parts sector in our country. What an affront to every promise President Trump has made American manufacturing towns.
Ohio’s trade message to our Nation is as loud and clear as it always has been. The job outsourcing destruction due to the original NAFTA deal, which passed a quarter century ago, over my great objection on this floor, continues to reverberate across our State and Nation.
Now, we just saw at Lordstown, another, at that plant, 1,600 General Motors jobs, and upwards of 5,000 total job losses when the auto suppliers are counted at just that one facility.
Following the original NAFTA’s implementation, town after town lost good jobs with good wages and benefits.
How many times must America’s towns and workers bear witness to NAFTA’s vast U.S. job outsourcing and wage drag? How many more?
Millions have suffered firsthand as dire predictions actualized and the false promises of NAFTA job creation failed to materialize. Instead, they personally experienced the great sucking sound of job outsourcing, just what we said here on this floor back in the early 1990s.
Whether GM’s decision was at all influenced by NAFTA 2.0 is irrelevant. American trade deals have far too long allowed corporate America to run rampant over America’s workers as they seek out the penny-wage laborers who can’t afford to buy what they make.
I have a couple of charts here that I want to bring to the floor to describe what has been happening across this continent now for a quarter century, and what is upsetting the American people.
Millions of U.S. jobs have been obliterated year after year, as replacement workers toil and work in unsafe sweatshops and maquiladoras south of the border exposed to unimaginable toxins.
The original NAFTA was supposed to create trade surpluses for the United States. It was supposed to create job growth in the United States. And you know what has happened? Exactly the reverse.
These are the numbers just for the year of 2016. You can see how big the trade deficit is with Mexico, nearly $70 billion and with Canada, $8 billion. Now, that is up fourfold since back in the early nineties, before NAFTA was passed, when we already had a small trade deficit with those countries, but it has just exploded.
The original NAFTA fueled massive migration on the Mexican side from their countryside to our Nation as millions upon millions of small farmers’ livelihoods were extinguished in Mexico. Mexico’s white corn industry was decimated.
Why do you think people fled to the United States? If you were hungry, and you had nothing, and you lived in desperation, well, you might do the same. What a humanitarian tragedy has been occurring for over a quarter century. And yet, policymakers in the United States and Mexico close their eyes to the human tragedy.
Trade with our closest neighbors is never simply a zero-sum game. There have been lots of losers. In fact, our country’s been a loser.
Yeah, there are some pockets of transportation jobs down at the border. Anybody would expect that. But overall, a net loser.
In the nearly 3 decades since NAFTA’s original passage, we have not even had 1 year of balanced trade accounts, which is the true measure of whether a trade agreement is successful or not.
So we look at the Trump trade figures here, going across the months, and you look at the red line. Every month the trade deficit grows, including with Mexico and Canada; not even 1 year of balanced trade accounts, and the numbers are getting worse.
NAFTA provided vivid evidence of a severely-flawed trade agreement that failed America’s workers and communities as plant after plant shuts down. And you know, the sad tragedy is, at Lordstown, the third shift was gone a couple of years ago. But as the second shift left this week, they were told by the GM officials in the plant, these jobs are going to Mexico.
Beyond just the NAFTA deficit, all our global trade deficits have ballooned under this administration’s erratic trade and tariff agenda. It makes no sense.
General Motors says that one of the reasons they are moving the jobs to Mexico is because of the cost of the Trump tariffs, and that they have had to pay several billion dollars more for steel that goes into making these vehicles.
Well, you know, in this wake, a modern NAFTA agreement to correct all of the injustices associated with continental trade is long overdue. I have eagerly anticipated the release of specific text in this NAFTA 2.0 and strategic agenda from the administration on how President Trump plans to bring jobs back to America. He actually promised that in all the towns that have just gotten these pink slips. He said it in Youngstown. He told the people in Warren, Michigan, that they never had to worry if they voted for him; that they would never have a plant close down.
Well, guess what? General Motors is closing down the transmission facility in Warren, Michigan.
Thus far, both the trade deficit and the job outsourcing continue to, as the expression goes, go south. These numbers are going to get much worse for the workers and communities in our country.
And the workers in Mexico, since NAFTA’s passage, guess what? Their wages are going down. What kind of a system is this?
Anything short of specifics in this redone agreement that will clearly improve job prospects for Americans will fall short of Trump’s promises.
Mr. Speaker, this is too important a moment to hang America’s economy on faulty assumptions. We, in Congress, not I, but some in Congress, fell for NAFTA in 1994. We can’t let it happen again.
The signing of text tomorrow leaves with us a lot of work yet to complete. Let Congress do its job.
Has this administration answered the question of whether the job outsourcing bonanza that has taken hold since NAFTA’s passage in 1994 has truly been addressed?
It is hard to believe that will be the case, given the current news about General Motors; and that is not the only company moving jobs out of this country.
Have strong labor standards been included in NAFTA 2.0 subject to swift and certain enforcement? No.
Will corporate interests retain the means to outsource American jobs, to take advantage of rock-bottom Mexican wages? Yeah, they will.
Will we protect the rights of Americans to know what is in the food they are feeding their families, or will trade facilitation hold priority over food safety?
Congress has to ask, will Americans have access to affordable prescription drugs made in Mexico, or will the new NAFTA further rig the system to delay access to more affordable and safe generic drugs and biosimilars?
Globally, will we work to open closed and controlled markets?
Will we equalize the negative impact of the value-added tax in our trade agreement? There is nothing in this on that.
Will tax policy stop favoring outsourcing? No, actually the Trump tax bill favored more outsourcing.
Democrats look forward to holding hearings and oversight of how these questions will truly impact all of America and America’s workers and communities. We have called on this administration to work with us to reach necessary and substantive achievements.
There is a new administration taking power in Mexico itself. We need to listen and work with them.
Any new North American trade agreement must raise wages and create a level playing field across the board. The American people are not interested in staged production signing ceremonies. They want a NAFTA deal that is fixed and that will create good-paying jobs in America with benefits you can depend upon and heal the economic injustices suffered for the past 3 decades as people are exploited by institutions more powerful than themselves.
And if America is going to be the leader of the free world, she has to be the leader in free trade agreements that are fair and offer the opportunity of rising living standards for all people, not harming people, but helping people.
Trade is not just about goods, it is about people. We have to put people first. We have to put people at the top of the agenda. We have to put workers at the top of the agenda and treat them for their true worth, and not any longer allow trade deals like NAFTA to hollow them out, to hollow their communities out, and to hollow America out.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.“https://www.c-span.org/video/?454952-3/house-session-part-2&start=13643