On April 17, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) convened a roundtable with northeast Ohio workers at the North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor in Cleveland to hear from Ohio workers about their priorities as the Administration moves to renegotiate NAFTA. Brown sought feedback from workers on rolling back harmful trade policies and shaping future trade agreements in a way that will benefit American workers.
Brown reached out to Trump immediately following the election, offering to work with the President to renegotiate NAFTA and outlining specific steps Trump should take to fulfill his campaign promises on trade. Trump responded with a hand-written note.
“Donald Trump made a lot of big promises during his campaign, including to overhaul our trade policy and renegotiate NAFTA,” said Brown. “I’ve always stood up to Presidents of both parties to fight for better trade deals for Ohio. And I’m going to hold NAFTA renegotiation to the same standard I’ve always used for every trade deal, no matter who was in the White House: does it put Ohio workers first? I’m ready to work with President Trump to deliver on his promises, or to hold him accountable if he doesn’t.”
At the roundtable, Brown outlined three main aspects of NAFTA that harm American workers and must be renegotiated including:
- Getting rid of NAFTA’s investor state dispute settlement provisions, which are corporate handouts that allow multinational corporations to challenge U.S. law.
- Protecting U.S. auto workers and the domestic steel industry by renegotiating NAFTA’s rules of origin, which determine how much of a product must be made in a country in order to benefit from the trade agreement.
- Making sure all companies and countries are on a level playing-field by including strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards so corporations don’t have incentive to ship jobs to Mexico in order to pay workers less.
As a long-time advocate for fair trade, Brown has stood up to presidents of both parties on shortsighted trade agreements that ship U.S. jobs overseas. He led the bipartisan opposition to NAFTA in 1993 – as a freshman in the U.S. House of Representatives – and to CAFTA in 2005. Brown is working on trade policies that promote our workers, small businesses, and manufacturers while creating jobs and expanding markets through an aggressive export promotion strategy.