(WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement by Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to the conclusion of the first round of NAFTA renegotiation talks that ended Sunday.
“The Teamsters have been calling for NAFTA withdrawal or its dramatic renegotiation for more than 20 years. Therefore, we support undertaking this long-overdue overhaul of an agreement that was flawed when ratified and which has failed to deliver on the promises that were made to working families when it entered into force.
“NAFTA has been a failure. Very simply, NAFTA has cost America a million lost jobs and put downward pressure on wage rates and workers’ rights. It is time to replace it with a new model of trade that puts the interests of hardworking Americans above those of multinational corporations and foreign investors.
“I intend to track these negotiations closely over the next several months on behalf of our 1.4 million members in the U.S. and Canada. We will not be satisfied with the mere tweaks that many ‘free trade’ corporate lobbyists want. A warmed over Trans-Pacific Partnership won’t cut it. We’re holding out for a radically new NAFTA that works for workers.
“As the first round wraps up and the talks move to Mexico, I remind USTR Robert Lighthizer of our expectations for greater transparency in these new negotiations. Before the second round convenes, we urge the three governments to agree to publish their proposals and the negotiating text of NAFTA 2.0 after each round of talks. The press, the public, our elected officials and working families in all three countries are stakeholders in this process, and we should all have the early and ongoing opportunity to see what is being negotiated in our name.
“NAFTA renegotiation has been a long time coming. This is an historic opportunity to start over, to revisit the premises and direction of America’s participation in the global economy. But real reform is only achievable if the process is inclusive, democratic and transparent.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.