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Rep. Chu Statement on USMCA

December 19, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) joined a bipartisan majority in voting to pass H.R. 5430, a bill to implement the US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement (USMCA), the updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This new agreement includes significant improvements with respect to labor, the environment, access to affordable medicines, and enforcement. The bill provides new labor enforcement at the individual company and factory level, requires independent labor experts certify that those companies and factories are following the labor protections under this agreement, imposes fines on goods that are made under union-busting tactics, and blocks goods from repeat offenders from entering the US. It also provides funding to clean up water pollution along the Tijuana River Valley and invest in water infrastructure. Rep. Chu issued the following statement:

“For too long, free trade agreements have meant lost jobs or lower wages for American workers. And the initial USMCA negotiated by the Trump Administration was no different, preserving the race to the bottom for workers’ wages that incentivized moving jobs to other countries. That is why Democrats fought for new labor protections that would make this deal actually work for our country and our workers. It does that first by focusing labor enforcement at the individual factory level, which means we’ll be able to find bad actors more easily. Second, independent labor experts will ensure those factories are following the labor protections under this agreement.  Finally, USMCA also imposes fines on goods that are made under union-busting tactics, and blocks goods from repeat offenders from entering the US. These measures are significant, but they are meaningless without being enforced. That is why I am so pleased that Democrats were able to close loopholes from past agreements that let other countries bypass our labor requirements, and include protections for whistleblowers who witness violations of labor provisions.

“This deal is not perfect. While it does include some environmental accountability, it does not go nearly far enough in helping us address the urgent crisis of climate change. We still need agreements to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and bring us in line with the Paris Agreement. But this is still an important and significant step that will mean more and better jobs, more affordable goods, and a healthier economy. I am proud to vote yes on the USMCA.”