AFL-CIO president: ‘Hard to see’ new NAFTA deal without Canada

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Photo: AFL-CIO
Sept. 3 (UPI) — The president of the largest union federation in the United States said Sunday that a reworked North American Free Trade Agreement would require Canada’s involvement.Appearing on Fox News Sunday, President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations Richard Trumka said the economies of the three countries involved in the trade deal: the United States, Mexico and Canada are integrated.

“It’s pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal,” Trumka said.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted that Canada will be left out of the new NAFTA agreement if a fair deal can’t be reached, stating there was “no political necessity” for its inclusion. Trump also threatened to scrap the deal entirely if Congress should interfere with the negotiations.

“Remember, NAFTA was one of the WORST Trade Deals ever made. The U.S. lost thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. We were far better off before NAFTA — should never have been signed. Even the Vat Tax was not accounted for,” Trump wrote. “We make new deal or go back to pre-NAFTA!”

Earlier in the week Trump announced the completion of a preliminary trade agreement between the United States and Mexico, while threatening new tariffs against Canada if they didn’t cooperate in efforts toward a new NAFTA deal.

Trumka echoed Trump’s sentiments about the negative impact of NAFTA, while noting much work remains before the deal with Mexico is finalized.

“We’re anxious to move forward with it and anxious to have all three countries involved, because NAFTA has had a devastating effect on the working people of this country for the last 25 years,” he said. “We’ve been aggressively pursuing an agreement that works for the workers in all three countries and I can say we’re not done yet.”

Trumka added that some details of the Mexico plan are positive for workers, including increasing the amount of an automobile’s value that must be made in North America from 62.5 percent to 75 percent, but added the organization is pushing for the ability to monitor and enforce the terms of the deal under any future presidential administration.

“We’ve been told for over 25 years, trust us, this agreement will be good for workers. What we need is an agreement that we can enforce no matter who’s in the White House,” he said.

Talks between the U.S. and Canada regarding a new deal are set to continue next week after both sides failed to reach an agreement on Friday.


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