USW: USMCA Panel Decision Bad for Workers

Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444,  

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway released the following statement today in response to a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) arbitral panel decision on automotive rules of origin. The interpretation would allow for significantly more content to come from China and other countries while remaining labeled “made in North America:” 

“Today’s USMCA panel decision not only hurts workers across North America but undercuts the agreement itself, representing a significant victory for Chinese and other foreign producers.

“Rules governing the origin of automotive components are important to ensuring that products that qualify for duty free status are truly supporting local jobs rather than fueling a race to the bottom on wages and working conditions.

“Instead, the dispute panel backed the hand waving and fuzzy math that allows corporations to cut corners and dilute the amount of North American content needed to qualify for the preferential tariff consideration.

“The Biden administration worked diligently to defend higher standards and protect workers, including hundreds of thousands of USW members.

“However, in recent weeks we saw WTO decisions that attempt to impose how the U.S. defines its national security interests, and now a USMCA panel misinterpreting what ‘Made in North America’ means. 

“As long as dispute panels continue their overreach, enabling language to be manipulated to undermine workers, our trade agreements and negotiations will fail to live up to their promise.

“We commend the administration’s ongoing commitment to fair trade that benefits workers and consumers. But decisions like these make it harder to trust new tariff reduction agreements, knowing that every word and phrase will need to be stress-tested to ensure that companies and competitors can’t interpret them in a way that kills jobs and opportunity.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

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Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222