The top lobbyist for Detroit’s automakers has renewed efforts to win Congressional approval of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA, that the Trump administration wants to replace NAFTA.
Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, the principal lobbyist for GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, told a U.S. Senate hearing that passing the USMCA should be a bipartisan priority for Congress.
“FCA US, Ford and General Motors are essential to America’s economic growth supporting two out of three jobs in the U.S. auto sector,” Blunt said.
“America’s automakers, their employees, and the auto manufacturing supply chain depend on exports to grow jobs here at home. The USMCA will help ensure that the American automotive industry is able to stay globally competitive by establishing a framework to increase investment and research and development in the United States.”
The AAPA believes the USMCA will help ensure that the American automotive industry is able to stay globally competitive by establishing a framework to increase investment and research and development in the United States.
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Michigan) said during an appearance across the street from the Warren transmission plant that GM is preparing to close, the Trump administration must do more to strengthen labor rights for workers in Mexico so they can bargain for higher wages.
The changes to NAFTA proposed by the Trump administration now awaiting Congressional approval do not go far enough to secure the rights of Mexican workers, Kildee said. But Trump is unwilling to re-open discussions with Mexico to secure better terms that would benefit American workers by narrowing the difference in wages between the two countries.
NAFTA 2.0 is the same as the old NAFTA, he said.
“It has the same idle promises unless you’re going to get serious about enforcement,” said Kildee, whose district includes. Flint, Michigan, which has been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs.
So far, the impasse about the labor issue has blocked movement on the new trade deal.
Meanwhile, several reports suggest Trump, who by all accounts is intently focused on plans for his re-election campaign, is prepared to let the trade talks with Mexico and China stall and use the lack of progress on his trade agenda against the Democrats in 2020.
Trump even went so far as to suggest this week the Chinese would be more willing to make a deal with him once they see he going to be re-elected.
For the automakers, however, the extended trade discussions only create an environment in which it is difficult to prepare future plans.
Kildee was accompanied by former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, who is now the chairman of the Democratic Party’s National Committee. Perez said Democrats are fully prepared to press Trump on “kitchen-table” issues such as health care and economic security for working Americans.