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house Bill H.R. 6056

Does NAFTA Need to be Renegotiated on Terms More Favorable to America?

Argument in favor

NAFTA has been a disaster for the U.S. as companies have shifted their operations out of the country and taken good middle-class jobs with them. Trade has to be fair for all parties involved, and the U.S. needs to use its leverage to renegotiate NAFTA to protect American industries, minimize trade deficits, and protect the environment.

B.R.'s Opinion
···
11/21/2016
NAFTA has been beneficial to each of its partners, but not without consequences to each of them. It makes sense for the US to review with intent to better its own deal, however, understanding that it is a partnership and thus can not be one sided. As with any agreements, the US needs to weigh the pros and cons for itself and make the appropriate decision as to its continued participation.
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Loraki's Opinion
···
11/21/2016
I agree with Countable member Jeannette's opinion: "I can still see Ross Perot with his chart board explaining why nafta would be bad for America. He was absolutely right, he was also right about the great sucking sound Being jobs leaving America. Clinton said he would not vote nafta if elected, well he did. Here we are years later rectifying one of the biggest betrayals committed against the middle class citizens and this nation." I remember Ross Perot's charts, too. He WAS right! Actually, he was right about a LOT of things!
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Ann's Opinion
···
11/22/2016
NAFTA has killed manufacturing in the US! We should have listened to Perot and his charts!
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Argument opposed

NAFTA has been mutually beneficial for Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans alike so it would be shortsighted to walk away from the agreement. Despite a growing trade deficit, U.S. consumers benefit from this free trade deal through less expensive goods and services, and those savings fuel growth in other areas of the U.S. economy.

s.lewis27's Opinion
···
11/21/2016
Jacob Goldstein from NPR's Planet Money cited an interesting survey done at the University of Chicago, "where they asked all these economists, all across the political spectrum, are Americans better off on average because of NAFTA? 95 percent said yes, 5% said they were unsure." Note that none were willing to say no. In general it is agreed that free trade and open societies (see all anti-leave messaging from experts leading up to Brexit) are beneficial. They, upon establishment, cause pain, but that pain dissipates pretty quickly. NAFTA doesn't have any exceptionally outrageous terms that I can see. Yes, people lost jobs, about 700,000, and that is an issue no doubt. But we are also adding about 200,000 jobs on average per month since that agreement. No, they are not the well paying, high school education only needed jobs of 15 years ago, so we need to focus on things like better, more affordable education, to get the populous in a place where the available jobs are accessible to everyone. This focus on NAFTA distracts from the true underlying issues while also threatening our good relationships with our neighbors and the market stability it provides as well.
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Wesley's Opinion
···
11/21/2016
I believe proponents of this bill overstate its importance to our job growth. It is true that some jobs left American soil and I can only imagine how irritating it must be if you believe one of these jobs was supposed to be yours. However, automation and a changing global economy can be as much to blame, especially given that most experts agree that Nafta's effect on our economy has been relatively modest at best. We should focus on creating new opportunities for work (i.e. infrastructure and public works) and investing heavily in education to support our existing workforce and grow our coming generations, respectively.
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Daryl's Opinion
···
11/21/2016
I agree with Countable member Sarah on this one: "TL/DR version: Trade agreements won't fix the real problem of under employment and unemployment. The outcry against trade agreements is largely a misplaced anger at the very, very real problem of a broken economic ladder. The path from poor to middle class, historically achieved via blue collar manufacturing jobs. However, studies have found that technology, not free trade is the real source of jobs drying up in the manufacturing sector. A study at Ball State found that between 2000 and 2012 manufacturing job loss was due to productivity improvements 85% of the time."
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Trade
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedSeptember 15th, 2016

What is House Bill H.R. 6056?

This bill would withdraw Congress’ approval for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and set a timeline for renegotiating certain aspects of the agreement related to trade deficits, currency and manufacturing imbalances, and environmental concerns. If certain conditions are met in the renegotiation, the U.S. would continue to participate in NAFTA, otherwise it would withdraw.

Congress would officially retract its approval of NAFTA 365 days after this bill is enacted, and notice of America’s withdrawal would be provided by the president to Canada and Mexico within the first six months of that timeframe.

To stabilize the balance of trade between the parties to NAFTA, emergency tariffs (taxes on imports), quotas, and other measures could be imposed or adjusted to correct a trade deficit with Canada or Mexico that exceeds 10 percent of U.S. exports to that country or tops $500 million for three straight years. Similar adjustments would be permitted to account for the negative effects of rapid or substantial changes in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the currencies of Canada or Mexico. NAFTA would also be adjusted to allow for more relief of U.S. agricultural producers when they are unfairly disadvantaged by imports from Canada or Mexico.

The secretaries of several federal agencies would be required to make certifications to Congress about the effects of NAFTA, including Commerce, Labor, Agriculture, and the Attorney General before the U.S. could continue participating in NAFTA. The certifications would verify that:

  • The number of jobs gained from exports to NAFTA trade partners exceeds the number lost because of imports from NAFTA parties, and that the purchasing power of Americans has increased.

  • The export of U.S.-manufactured goods to Canada and Mexico exceeds the amount imported from those countries.

  • That pollution on the U.S.-Mexico border has decreased since NAFTA began, and that fewer products containing pesticides or additives that don’t meet U.S. standards haven’t been imported.

  • That imports from Canada and Mexico aren’t resulting in an increase in crime related to drugs and controlled substances.

  • That Mexico’s government is elected in free and fair elections, ensures civil rights, and has a transparent justice system.


Argument in Favor:



Argument Against:



Impact:

Businesses and consumers that buy products from the U.S., Canada, or Mexico; Congress; relevant federal agencies; and the president.


Cost:

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.



More Information

Of Note: Sponsoring Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) has been fighting against NAFTA since its enactment in 1993, and authored a letter to the editor in the New York Times about why she has opposed the free trade agreement:

“As a United States representative from Ohio who fought against the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement, I can attest that its bite has been felt hard by the people across the region. Annual incomes average $7,000 below what they were in 1990. Good jobs with middle-class wages are precious. Part-time work with no benefits has replaced secure jobs… Our communities work to create new enterprise, but the downdraft of job outsourcing to penny-wage places coupled with a deluge of unchecked imports remains severe, quashing economic growth.”
The Editorial Board of Bloomberg authored a piece defending NAFTA, pointing out that even goods imported from Mexico are made with U.S. content and that broader trends like automation have affected jobs and wages. They argue that NAFTA has been a net positive for all countries involved and that not many jobs have been lost to Mexico and Canada, and that expanded trade has been beneficial for America:
“What’s missing from the NAFTA debate is that trade among the three countries has jumped 300 percent, to $1.2 trillion. Absent, too, is recognition that NAFTA has helped to make U.S. companies more efficient, competitive and profitable. Less expensive imports have improved Americans’ purchasing power, resulting in higher living standards. And per-person gross domestic product is up in all three NAFTA nations.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Keepscases / Creative Commons)

AKA

NAFTA Accountability Act

Official Title

To assess the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to require further negotiation of certain provisions of NAFTA, and to provide for the withdrawal from NAFTA unless certain conditions are met.

    NAFTA has been beneficial to each of its partners, but not without consequences to each of them. It makes sense for the US to review with intent to better its own deal, however, understanding that it is a partnership and thus can not be one sided. As with any agreements, the US needs to weigh the pros and cons for itself and make the appropriate decision as to its continued participation.
    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
    Jacob Goldstein from NPR's Planet Money cited an interesting survey done at the University of Chicago, "where they asked all these economists, all across the political spectrum, are Americans better off on average because of NAFTA? 95 percent said yes, 5% said they were unsure." Note that none were willing to say no. In general it is agreed that free trade and open societies (see all anti-leave messaging from experts leading up to Brexit) are beneficial. They, upon establishment, cause pain, but that pain dissipates pretty quickly. NAFTA doesn't have any exceptionally outrageous terms that I can see. Yes, people lost jobs, about 700,000, and that is an issue no doubt. But we are also adding about 200,000 jobs on average per month since that agreement. No, they are not the well paying, high school education only needed jobs of 15 years ago, so we need to focus on things like better, more affordable education, to get the populous in a place where the available jobs are accessible to everyone. This focus on NAFTA distracts from the true underlying issues while also threatening our good relationships with our neighbors and the market stability it provides as well.
    Like (76)
    Follow
    Share
    I believe proponents of this bill overstate its importance to our job growth. It is true that some jobs left American soil and I can only imagine how irritating it must be if you believe one of these jobs was supposed to be yours. However, automation and a changing global economy can be as much to blame, especially given that most experts agree that Nafta's effect on our economy has been relatively modest at best. We should focus on creating new opportunities for work (i.e. infrastructure and public works) and investing heavily in education to support our existing workforce and grow our coming generations, respectively.
    Like (38)
    Follow
    Share
    I agree with Countable member Sarah on this one: "TL/DR version: Trade agreements won't fix the real problem of under employment and unemployment. The outcry against trade agreements is largely a misplaced anger at the very, very real problem of a broken economic ladder. The path from poor to middle class, historically achieved via blue collar manufacturing jobs. However, studies have found that technology, not free trade is the real source of jobs drying up in the manufacturing sector. A study at Ball State found that between 2000 and 2012 manufacturing job loss was due to productivity improvements 85% of the time."
    Like (27)
    Follow
    Share
    I agree with Countable member Jeannette's opinion: "I can still see Ross Perot with his chart board explaining why nafta would be bad for America. He was absolutely right, he was also right about the great sucking sound Being jobs leaving America. Clinton said he would not vote nafta if elected, well he did. Here we are years later rectifying one of the biggest betrayals committed against the middle class citizens and this nation." I remember Ross Perot's charts, too. He WAS right! Actually, he was right about a LOT of things!
    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
    Of all the structural workforce challenges - namely lack of demand for the workers from the 90s that the Rep from OH mentioned because of technological and operational advances, not to mention major disparities in education - access (affordability) and completion - renegotiating NAFTA seems like a distraction to the core issues.
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    If possible add a tax on those companies who have taken jobs elsewhere as well as those who wish to do so. Allowing a lower tax bracket for those companies who open new factories and/or add jobs at home is also a good idea. Relieving them completely of all taxes without evidence of actions completed.would be a mistake.
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    To revert on NAFTA is to revert on Free Trade. Fixing trade agreements to get jobs back in this country is not the way to do it, regardless of what Trump says. You have to provide incentives in order to keep companies here. Otherwise we have to penalize countries we do business with that are lower developed than we are because they are who we are losing our jobs to. The problem there though is that trade isolationism will not work, even for the US
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    NAFTA has killed manufacturing in the US! We should have listened to Perot and his charts!
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    Jobs lost to free trade are most likely not coming back unless the US takes on much more isolationist policies. Since I believe that would be a far greater detriment than the jobs lost, we're better off retraining impacted workers.
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    I have seen REAL Americans live in "ghost towns" with broken-down factories and empty manufacturing centers. It is so infuriating to see so many ignorant people in this comment section talk as if NAFTA has benefited the middle-class. YOU PEOPLE KNOW NOTHING! NAFTA sent hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs overseas, leaving hundreds of thousands of Americans without a job or purpose. That is why an idiot like Trump managed to become our President, you morons, because he kept hammering Clinton on her support for "free trade" and NAFTA, and guess what? That freaking RESONATED with the blue-collared workers that lost their jobs to NAFTA and have been ignored by too many Americans like the ignoramuses who voted NAY to this common-sense bill. Unbelievable!
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    Contrary to public opinion, NAFTA has grown employment and economic output of the United States. Study after peer reviewed study have empirically proven this. It could be renegotiated for better terms, but it's only self-destructive to pull out of it, both diplomatically and economically. If you support a strong economy and diplomacy with our neighbors, vote no on this bill.
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    No, No, No, No. conservative principles support free trade. May the republican congress please PROTECT NAFTA.
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    I think a more effective way to increase jobs in America is to reduce regulation and taxes. This is part of the reason companies move jobs overseas. I agree that it is more technology improvements and unions increased labor costs that drive the job loss. Reviewing the trade deals is not in itself a bad idea but don't start with the premise that existing trade deals are the cause of low employment. Things like Obamacare and increasing regulation, high corporate taxes are strong negative factors that businesses consider when making decisions about expanding and where any new businesses will be located. How many companies have incorporated out of this country to reduce costs?
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    Although NAFTA is not responsible for all U.S. labor market problems, it has made a significant contribution to the state of the U.S. economy, both directly and indirectly. Without major changes in NAFTA to address unequal levels of development and enforcement of labor rights and environmental standards, continued integration of North American markets will threaten the prosperity of a growing share of the U.S. workforce.
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    Trade agreements will almost always create winners and losers. It seems that NAFTA has created more losers than winners. I'm typically in favor of free trade, but dissatisfaction with the current economic situation, especially with free trade, has led to the election of a businessman/TV star as POTUS. I think we need to take a long, hard look at the agreements we've made and how they affect the manufacturing class.
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    I can still see Ross Perot with his chart board explaining why nafta would be bad for America. He was absolutely right, he was also right about the great sucking sound Being jobs leaving America. Clinton said he would not vote nafta if elected, well he did. Here we are years later rectifying one of the biggest betrayal committed against the middle class citizens and this nation.
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    Bring the jobs back to the USA.
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    If there is a way to improve any trade agreement, then Yes, let's re-open NAFTA.
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    Amerca first. And I'm not referring to just corporate America. If tax dollars and American jobs are being sacrificed, it is not a good trade agreement.
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