USMCA: lawmakers, union groups want more
SOUTH BEND, In. — organized labor groups say they aren’t buying the new trade deal between our North American neighbors.
“It is my great honor to announce that we have successfully completed negotiations on a brand new deal to terminate and replace NAFTA,” said the president on Monday.
Just hours before this administration’s imposed deadline on a deal, a trade agreement was reached between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
President Donald Trump is distancing this agreement from the nearly 25-year-old North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA). In fact, he’s calling it the United States Mexico Canada agreement (USMCA).
Highlights to USMCA include new regulations on where cars are made, more benefits for U.S. dairy farmers and changes to labor laws.
“Companies aren't going to be leaving us anymore and firing everybody and sending their product back into the United States with no tax. That is what I wanted,” Trump said at a rally this week.
But is that what the President got in this new deal?
Sen. Joe Donnelly, while encouraged the president is renegotiating NAFTA, says more work needs to be done before it can be finalized.
“My priorities are to stop the outsourcing of American jobs and to ensure a level playing field for American workers,” Sen. Donnelly said in part in a statement to ABC 57 News. “I am currently reviewing the text of the agreement and will continue to work with the administration to ensure that it is in the best interest of Hoosiers."
U.S. Rep Jackie Walorski also saw silver linings in the new deal, but agrees more work needs to be done in order to ensure there won’t be retaliation to previously announced steel and aluminum tariffs.
“The Trump administration must provide clarity on the steps being taken to end these tariffs on our trading partners and target the real problem, which is China’s unfair trade practices,” Rep. Walorski said in part in a statement.
Both sides of the aisle however did applaud the labor provisions.
Specifically, ensuring around 40 percent of a car must be made by auto workers making at least $16 an hour.
“It could be a win for working people if indeed it’s more than just a show,” said Tony Flora, North Central Indiana AFL-CIO president.
Union groups say enforcement has to be a priority in order for this agreement to truly have teeth.
“Does our country have clear policy in which we are committed to raising wages and income in ways it is fair to most working people and to the broadest number of working people,” said Flora. “I don’t think we are seeing that yet.”