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Democratic presidential hopefuls agree: Not this NAFTA

The following is from the Washington Fair Trade Coalition:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 25, 2019) — Last Thursday, Citizens Trade Campaign released responses it had received from 16 Democratic presidential candidates, including all of the leading contenders — Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris, O’Rourke, Booker, Inslee, and others — stating that Congress should not pass NAFTA 2.0 unless major changes are made. CTC coordinates locally with the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.

Candidate statement excerpts:

Sen. Cory Booker: “I am opposed to President Trump’s new NAFTA deal. It should be renegotiated to strengthen labor protections and environmental standards, and improve access to prescription drugs.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio: “For decades Republicans –and too many Democrats –promised American workers that the benefits of free trade would ‘trickle down’ to them. It didn’t happen and it won’t happen under the terms of the deal President Trump has negotiated.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: “NAFTA must be completely overhauled in order to establish dependable trading conditions that are fair for our communities and our workers. Any changes to NAFTA must strengthen enforcement provisions and increase protections for labor and the environment because our workers can out-compete anyone in the world on a balanced playing field…”

Sen. Mike Gravel: “NAFTA and its updated worker pillaging version signed by Trump are treaties designed to extract the greatest amount of surplus value from workers by slashing wages through relocation and instigating phony race to the bottom competition between workers in North America.”

Sen. Kamala D. Harris: “I believe the purpose of any trade agreement must be to create jobs in America, raise wages, and strengthen the middle class. That’s why, as president, I will not sign any trade agreement unless it contains strong and enforceable provisions to protect workers, safeguard our environment, and crack down on trade manipulation by other countries. In my Administration, labor will have a seat at the table to ensure any agreement meets that test. It’s clear the so-called ‘U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’ does not, and as a result, I will not support it.”

Gov. Jay Inslee: “I believe we must revise North American trade policy in a way that directly confronts climate change and implements strong, enforceable labor and environmental standards that help the United States meet climate action goals. Currently, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiated by the Trump Administration does not contain sufficiently enforceable labor or environmental standards, nor does it even mention the term ‘climate change.’ Clearly, we must do better.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The reality is that Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 would do nothing to prevent corporations from shipping jobs to Mexico where workers are paid less than two bucks an hour…So, I say to Donald Trump: For once in your life, keep your campaign promises.Go back to the drawing board on NAFTA…We need a trade policy in America that works for working families, not the CEOs of multinational corporations.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “There’s no question we need to renegotiate NAFTA. The federal government has certified that NAFTA has already cost us nearly a million good American jobs –and big companies continue to use NAFTA to outsource jobs to Mexico to this day. But as it’s currently written, Trump’s deal won’t stop the serious and ongoing harm NAFTA causes for American workers. It won’t stop outsourcing, it won’t raise wages, and it won’t create jobs. It’s NAFTA 2.0.”

Read the full candidate statements here. The statements come on the heels of President Trump’s official 2020 campaign launch in Orlando, Florida, and deal a blow to the President’s message that he has fixed NAFTA to make it better for American workers.

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