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Steve Jurvetson

Where's the Renegotiated NAFTA?

Michigan AFL-CIO President says Trump has spent more time playing golf then working on fixing NAFTA

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by AFL-CIO on
Jul 12, 2017

The North American Free Trade Agreement has been a total trainwreck for Michigan, shipping off tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. Trump won Michigan in the 2016 Presidential Election with 47.50% of the vote compared to Clinton's 47.27%, a difference of 10,704. A smart choice Michigan, smart choice. 

We need to rewrite NAFTA the right way — making it easier to export Michigan products instead of Michigan jobs. That means negotiating a new trade agreement through a transparent and democratic process, where working people have a seat at the table. We need strong labor rules with an independent enforcer and strong penalties when countries break the rules, and when corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes. We need to crack down on currency manipulation, and strengthen rules of origin to protect our automakers and parts suppliers. And we need strong Buy American policies to support job creation here at home.

Last year, Trump looked Michigan voters straight in the eye and promised he would renegotiate NAFTA during his first 100 days in office. Well, it’s been almost 200 days, and so far he hasn’t kept that promise. Trump has spent more time on the golf course than at the NAFTA negotiating table.

Meanwhile, Sen. Debbie Stabenow has gone to bat for Michigan’s working families. Ten days after Trump took office, Sen. Stabenow introduced the Bring Jobs Home Act, which ends a loophole that gives tax breaks to corporations that ship American jobs overseas, and creates a new tax cut for U.S. companies to move jobs and business activity from another country back to America. That’s exactly the kind of leadership we need to help Michigan compete.

For a state like ours, fighting for fair trade policies should be a bipartisan issue. But instead, Republican members of our congressional delegation have repeatedly voted for bad trade deals. Just two years ago, U.S. Reps. Dave Trott, Mike Bishop, and Tim Walberg each voted for legislation to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which even President Trump said was “another disaster pushed by special interests.”

In Lansing, the contrast is just as clear. On one side we have Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. and Rep. Henry Yanez, who recently introduced resolutions calling on Trump to renegotiate NAFTA with strong provisions to protect Michigan jobs and manufacturers.

This editorial was written by Ron Bieber President of the Michigan AFL-CIO

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