Michigan Democrats, President Trump call for the renegotiation of NAFTA


LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - Michigan Democrats say President Donald Trump needs to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) before another Michigan job or factory is lost to Mexico.

Retooling NAFTA was one of the President's top campaign promises.

Tonight, Democrats in Lansing are introducing a resolution urging President Trump to keep his promise.

East Lansing State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. is on the phone rallying support.

"I am much more concerned about Michigan jobs than I am about jobs in Mexico," he said.

His resolution would keep President Trump "accountable" for his campaign promise to retool NAFTA in the United State's favor.

"That's why people in Michigan, I believe, supported this President," said Hertel. "He won Michigan. It was a close vote, but I think that he convinced people that he was on their side when it came to these important trade issues and he has not fulfilled those promises."

When NAFTA passed, it scraped tariff barriers for businesses and allowed the flow of goods across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico borders.

The deal spiked trade, but it also made it easier for companies to move from the U.S. to Mexico, something President Trump spoke about in his multiple trips to Michigan.

"Michigan has lost one in four manufacturing jobs since Bill Clinton signed NAFTA," President Trump said in Grand Rapids last year.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, 850,000 U.S. jobs vanished between 1993 and 2013 due to policies related to NAFTA.

More than 43,000 of those jobs were in Michigan, according to the report.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow agrees with President Trump by saying a modernization of NAFTA is long overdue.

“In the 23 years since NAFTA was signed, our country has lost too many good-paying manufacturing jobs to other countries," she said. "No other state has felt the pain of those losses more than Michigan. Given NAFTA’s importance to our workers, our farmers, and our economy, a modernization is long overdue. As we move forward, we need to make sure that any changes to NAFTA lead to an improvement in our quality of life and higher incomes, not a race to the bottom.”

But Hertel says the President isn't acting quick enough.

"In the campaign, the President said in the first 100 days that he would either repeal NAFTA or renegotiate NAFTA," said Hertel. "We are well past the 100 days now and that promise has not been fulfilled."

Publicly, President Trump is still committed to renegotiation.

He released a message on Facebook before meeting with Canadian and Mexican leaders at the G20 Summit.

"We are pursuing a total renegotiation of NAFTA and if we don't get it we will terminate, that is end NAFTA forever," said President Trump.

President Trump has taken steps to renegotiate NAFTA.

In May, the USTR sent to Congress the required 90-day notice before negotiating a trade agreement.

According to the USTR, August 16th is the earliest date that negotiations with Canada and Mexico can begin.

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