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01.18.19

IFPTE Warns Congress That the New NAFTA Agreement Falls Short

January 18, 2019

Hon. Chuck Grassley, Chair
Finance Committee
United States Senate
219 Dirksen Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Hon. Ron Wyden, Ranking Senator
Finance Committee
United States Senate
219 Dirksen Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Hon. Richard Neal, Chair
Ways & Means Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
1139E Longworth Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Hon. Kevin Brady, Ranking Member
Ways & Means Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
1102 Longworth Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Hon. Bill Pascrell, Chair
Subcommittee on Trade
U.S. House of Representatives
1103 Longworth Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

On behalf of the 90,000 members of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE), we are writing regarding your role in writing implementing legislation to accompany the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement, currently known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Absent a drastic change to what has currently been negotiated, IFPTE urges you to withhold approval of the USMCA.

Two decades since its enactment, the shortcomings of the NAFTA neoliberal free trade approach to globalization are clear, as that corporate-driven trade pact has only encouraged the displacement of production and jobs out of the United States and Canadian domestic economies to Mexico. It is clear that NAFTA, and other agreements modeled after it, have diminished the role of government, put business and investor interests first, and blurred our national identity by merging our economy into the global economy.

IFPTE recognizes that the USMCA does provide some incremental improvements compared to NAFTA. However, the USMCA falls well short in addressing the basic fact that the United States’ market-fundamentalist, pro-corporate approach to trade and globalization has been a failure - socially politically and economically. Some provisions in the USMCA reduce harm, but harm reduction does not reverse the accumulated damage caused by NAFTA’s distorted, corporate-driven power relationships that encouraged the wholesale movement of production and jobs out of our domestic economy. In short, IFPTE believes that workers will continue to suffer under the newly negotiated USMCA agreement.

IFPTE believes that our approach to globalization should be based on three basic principles. First, the purpose of an economy is to raise living standards and improve well-being for its citizens. Second, every country has legitimate national interests, and it is the appropriate role of public policy to pursue those national interests in ways that do not unfairly burden people in other countries. Lastly, a new trade policy should prioritize public interest, rather than allowing powerful private interests to guide trade policy.

With those standards in mind, Congress has an opportunity to be at the helm of a paradigm shift in trade policy through your work on the USMCA implementing legislation. Instead of useless debates about “free trade” versus protectionism, or dangerous forays into nationalism and xenophobia, Congress should instead recognize this moment as an opportunity to rethink our approach to globalization. As the leaders of your respective committees, and having the responsibility for crafting the USMCA legislation, you can lead in this effort by adopting policy solutions that share the gains from globalization more broadly. While we recognize the tremendous pressure put on you by profit driven multi-national corporations, Congress needs to resist that pressure, and instead rethink our national growth strategies to finally prioritize the interests of workers and communities and put our stewardship of the planet on a sustainable footing.

As you prepare to craft USMCA implementing legislation, IFPTE urges you to keep the three principles to globalization we listed above in the forefront of your decision-making process. If these three fundamental criteria cannot be met in the USMCA trade implementing legislation, IFPTE believes that the appropriate action for Congress to take would be to set USMCA aside. Otherwise, the United States would, once again, be locked in the current USMCA for at least another 16 years, and thereby perpetuating the old and failed NAFTA template.

Thank you for your consideration. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact either of us, or IFPTE legislative representative, Faraz Khan, at (202) 239-4880.

Sincerely,

Paul Shearon,
President

Matthew Biggs
Secretary-Treasurer/Legislative Director

_______________________________________

FLASHBACK
10/3/2018 - IFPTE Responds to New NAFTA Deal

IFPTE Letter to House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees on USMCA Agreement

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