WASHINGTON — Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) released this statement on Dec. 19 after voting in support of the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act (USMCA).
“In the renegotiation of NAFTA, I was looking for more robust labor and environmental provisions that adhered to stricter standards. I’m glad that through the hard work of my Democratic colleagues, we were able to secure key provisions that will help protect worker rights, keep jobs in America, and ensure that workers in our country and workers in Mexico earn fair wages.
“In this deal, labor protections are strong and enforceable. Some of the provisions included immediately establish labor specific enforcement mechanisms such as a robust monitoring program and the imposition of penalties on goods and services that are not produced in compliance with key labor standards. The labor standards and enforcement provisions negotiated in this trade deal received broad support from several labor unions and organizations, including support from the AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, and the Teamsters, whose support reflects a major victory for American workers in the USMCA.
“Understanding that the climate crisis is one of the greatest existential threats of our time, I was proud that my Democratic colleagues worked hard to ensure that this trade agreement adhered to our values and established necessary, strict, and enforceable environmental standards. Through tireless negotiations, the USMCA includes provisions that require our government to assess whether our partners’ environmental laws and regulations are in compliance with the agreement, creating enhanced enforcement and verification methods.
“While it does not go far enough, this is an improvement and it gives us established principles we can build from and improve.
“I commend my Democratic colleagues for staying true to our principles and ensuring that our priorities to strengthen labor protections, protect our environment, and ensure access to affordable medicines were given proper consideration and were included in this new renegotiation.”