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Senators Call on President Trump to Keep His Buy American Pledge in NAFTA Renegotiation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) were joined by Senators  Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today in calling on President Trump to keep his Buy American pledge by removing the government procurement chapter from NAFTA during renegotiation.

“For years, we have supported strong Buy American policies because we believe that American businesses and workers should get preferential access to taxpayer-funded U.S. government contracts.  However, NAFTA creates loopholes in Buy American requirements by providing Mexican and Canadian companies the same access to taxpayer-funded U.S. government projects as American companies,” the Senators wrote. “You have promised the American people a ‘Buy American’ trade policy and we would urge you to follow through on this commitment and close this loophole by removing the government procurement chapter from NAFTA in order to restore American manufacturing and ensure that taxpayer dollars are used to create jobs in the United States.”

In the letter, the Senators reference the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that Baldwin and Merkley shared with the White House in March. The GAO found that the U.S. opened a greater percentage of its government procurement market to foreign firms than the next five largest trade agreement partners combined. The report makes clear that including government procurement in free-trade agreements like NAFTA is a losing proposition for American workers

“There is broad support among the American people for Buy American policies and the GAO report makes clear that including government procurement in free trade agreements is a losing proposition,” the Senators note. “The renegotiation of NAFTA presents a great opportunity to change the status quo and we would urge you to fight for bold reforms that benefit American workers during your negotiations.”   

The Senators were joined today in calling on President Trump to keep his Buy American pledge by stakeholders across the country.

“Trade deals rigged to favor corporations have killed jobs, held down wages and devastated communities. No agreement has done more damage than NAFTA and this renegotiation is an opportunity for the administration to make a fair deal for America’s working families. That means taking back the freedom to use taxpayer dollars to support good jobs here in the U.S.  I commend these senators for leading the charge on this issue,” said AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka.

“Protecting ‘Buy American’ is a top priority for the Teamsters Union in NAFTA renegotiation,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Senators Baldwin and Merkley and their colleagues who signed on to this letter, are showing the leadership we need to move our country toward trade policy that puts American workers first.”

"NAFTA’s procurement chapter is a license to ship tax dollars abroad. Our government — and every other — should be free to prioritize the use of taxpayer funds to create local jobs and support the domestic economy.  We join Senators Baldwin, Merkley and their colleagues in calling for NAFTA’s procurement chapter to be eliminated,” said Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign. 

The letter is available here.