Congressman Tim Ryan Votes for United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressman Tim Ryan Votes for United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

December 19, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today voted in favor of the renegotiated NAFTA, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Northeast Ohio has been devastated by trade agreements that made it easier and cheaper to ship American jobs overseas, and Ryan came to Washington campaigning on the need to renegotiate NAFTA. From the start, Ryan made clear that any new agreement must prioritize workers’ rights and freedoms, include substantive provisions to end outsourcing incentives, and strengthen enforcement mechanisms. This is the first trade agreement Ryan has voted for in his career.

President Trump’s first attempt at a revised deal did none of these things. But after months of negotiations between House Democrats, labor leaders, and United States Trade Representative (USTR), Robert Lighthizer, the USMCA now includes many significant improvements to the original NAFTA, including largely eliminating the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), creating stronger labor enforcement and committing resources to these efforts, and strengthening labor standards in Mexico. While Ryan does not believe that the USMCA should be the model for future trade agreements, he believes it is an improvement over the original NAFTA.  Since the 1994 NAFTA, Ohio has lost nearly 1 in 3 manufacturing jobs – 160,640 Ohio workers are certified as trade job loss victims under the U.S. Department of Labor’s program called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

“The reason I first ran for Congress was because I wanted to stop the destruction bad trade deals were inflicting on our community in Northeast Ohio. In my time in Washington, I have opposed every trade deal introduced, regardless of which party was in the White House. But this time is different. Today, I voted in favor of the USMCA, not because it is a perfect deal, but because it makes significant improvements to the original NAFTA which devastated our community and shipped thousands of jobs overseas. There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure Mexico follows through with raising wages and allowing workers to organize. And further efforts are needed to stop providing incentives to companies to outsource jobs. This is not going to bring back the jobs we lost or heal the heartache endured, but it will be better deal for American workers and is an important step forward,” said Congressman Tim Ryan.

Democrats secured the following provisions to improve NAFTA :

  • High-standard rules for worker protection that are strong and clear enough to be enforceable
  • Mechanisms and resources to monitor that labor rights are being given to workers
  • Mechanisms and resources to hold actors accountable to this agreement
  • Eliminated giveaways for Big Pharma that would have locked in high prescription drug prices

Over the past two years, the labor movement, House Speaker Pelosi, and her allies on the USMCA working group pushed to remedy numerous shortcomings in the original USMCA text.  The end result is a vast improvement over both the original NAFTA and the agreement negotiated by President Trump last year.  The revised USMCA includes a first-of-its-kind facility-specific enforcement mechanism with rapid timelines and meaningful penalties.  Developed by Senators Brown and Wyden, this rapid response mechanism will allow complaints to be brought against facilities for violating the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining, including on-site verifications that must be resolved in a timely manner where violations are found,” said Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO

“On behalf of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), I write to express our support for passage of legislation to implement the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).  … The modernized agreement is a potentially substantial improvement over past trade agreements that have resulted in increased imports and lost American manufacturing jobs,” said Alliance for American Manufacturing.  

“The original USMCA required changes to Mexican labor law that we supported, as they were clearly better than current law.  But the agreement had no clear path to ensure that workers’ rights would be safeguarded.  The updated agreement now has enforcement provisions that can help make a difference. … There were also problematic provisions in the original USMCA that showered U.S. drug companies with huge opportunities for higher monopoly profits.  Democrats, working with labor, were able to eliminate this language from the agreement.  In addition, the labor movement, working with Democrats and other key allies, was also able to beat back portions of the original USMCA that would have jeopardized our ability to protect a sustainable environment. The revised deal is better than the original USMCA and certainly better than NAFTA.  It should be adopted,” said United Steelworkers.

“The USMCA agreement wasn’t worthy of ratification a year ago. Since then, the Teamsters Union, House Democrats, our labor brothers and sisters and many other fair trade allies worked to secure improvements to the agreement as signed by the party countries.  Now, for the first time, workers’ interests are protected by enforceable labor standards.  The revised final USMCA is better than the initially signed USMCA agreement and a significant improvement over the original NAFTA,” said International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports H.R. 5430, the ‘United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Implementation Act,’ which would strengthen trade ties that support millions of American jobs.  … The case for approval of this legislation is strong.  First, it would strengthen U.S. ties with Canada and Mexico, which are by far the most important export markets.  … Second, USMCA would modernize North American trade rules.  … Third, USMCA would restore certainty to these vital trade relationships.  … Implementation of USMCA would be a boon to U.S. companies and the workers they employ as they compete in our top two export markets.  We urge the House to approve USMCA expeditiously,” said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.