NAFTA critics say agreement pushed jobs from Midwest to Mexico

WASHINGTON (WDTN) – The U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, stated President Trump’s position on the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA.

“He is not interested in a mere tweaking a few provisions and a couple of updated chapters. We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many many Americans and needs major improvement,” said Lighthizer.

Mexico, Canada and the Unites States say NAFTA needs to reflect technology changes, like e-commerce.

NAFTA critics argue the free trade agreement has pushed Midwest manufacturing jobs to Mexico where companies can find cheaper labor and then ship their products back to the United States.

Celeste Drake, a global trade expert, said to protect Midwest jobs, NAFTA 2.0 needs to include labor and environmental standards that boost wages in Mexico.

“It’s helping to level the playing field, so it’s not such a draw for employers to go there to easily exploit workers, middle class,” said Drake.

In a USA Today op-ed ahead of the negotiations, Senator Sherrod Brown wrote in part, “American jobs shouldn’t be up for negotiation…by putting workers ahead of corporations…we can create the best possible deal for workers in all three countries.”

Chris Wilson with the Wilson Center a non-partisan policy center, said millions of American jobs now depend on trade with Canada and Mexico.

“You’d start to put those jobs at risk if you simply get rid of the agreement,” said Wilson.

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