What Will a NAFTA Renegotiation Look Like?

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Your boy Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Commerce Secretary, recently sat down with the Wall Street Journal — and an audience full of people who would show up to such an advertised interview — to discuss the broad contours of the Trump administration’s trade policy.

He touched on trade with China. He touched on Buy America policies. And he went in on the administration’s plans for a renegotiation of NAFTA. Ross specifically talked about how NAFTA’s rules has affected manufacturing:

“Some of its manufacturing provisions are totally obsolete. In automotive, they put in a procedure which in concept is a good one, called rules of origin. Namely, what percentage of the content of a finished product can come from outside NAFTA and yet get the favorable tariff treatment as though it were all 100% from within NAFTA?”

Ross made the same point about rules of origin in an interview with Bloomberg (his segment begins at about the 18 minute mark).

Interestingly enough: The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) submitted to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative its suggestions on how to order a NAFTA renegotiating strategy – and it prioritizes an update of those same “rules of origin” statutes. How about that!

You can read the whole letter here. AAM thinks NAFTA’s labor and environmental standards should be strengthened; concessions on government procurement market access should be entirely reciprocal; and that tough rules on state-owned enterprises and currency manipulation should be enshrined so this agreement can serve as a model for future trade agreements.

As for specifics on rules of origin, AAM wrote:

"While we believe the NAFTA rule of origin on automobiles should be phased in over time to a higher level so that workers in signatory countries can enjoy more of the benefits, we must also update the regional value content rules regarding traced materials to maximize these benefits."

For example:

"Under current NAFTA rules, steel is not a traced material, although many traced materials are steel-intensive. Updating these rules to ensure the use of North American steel in steel-intensive traced materials could stimulate manufacturing in all NAFTA countries, while minimizing the advantages to non-participating nations."

Ross told Bloomberg that in mid-July “we’ll be reviewing to the Congress a more detailed negotiating strategy than we had discussed with them before.” We hope to see some of AAM’s suggestions are taken to heart and included in the Trump administration’s outline.

***

Reposted from AAM.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Saving the Nation’s Parks

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

The wildfires ravaging the West Coast not only pose imminent danger to iconic national parks like Crater Lake in Oregon and the Redwoods in California, but threaten the future of all of America’s beloved scenic places.

As climate change fuels the federal government’s need to spend more of National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service budgets on wildfire suppression, massive maintenance backlogs and decrepit infrastructure threaten the entire system of national parks and forests.

A long-overdue infusion of funds into the roads, bridges, tunnels, dams and marinas in these treasured spaces would generate jobs and preserve landmark sites for generations to come.

The infrastructure networks in the nation’s parks long have failed to meet modern-day demand. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave parks a D+ rating in its 2017 infrastructure report card, citing chronic underfunding and deferred maintenance.

Just this year, a large portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is owned and managed by the NPS, collapsed due to heavy rains and slope failures. Projects to prevent disasters like this one get pushed further down the road as wildfire management squeezes agency budgets more each year.

Congress recently passed the Great American Outdoors Act,  allocating billions in new funding for the NPS.

But that’s just a first step in a long yet vital process to bring parks and forests to 21st-century standards. America’s big, open spaces cannot afford to suffer additional neglect.

More ...

There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work