Senator Bernie Sanders took his Michigan stop to tell Donald Trump that he needs to “go back to the drawing board” and rework the United States-Mexico-Canada trade accord. In particular, Sanders criticized the accord for letting companies like General Motors send U.S. jobs to Mexico, per U.S. News & World Report.
Sanders made the comment on Saturday night in Warren, a working-class Detroit suburb, not long after he spoke at Coopersville outside Grand Rapids during his trek through the Midwest states. He claims that Trump should hold off on sending the trade accord to Congress until it includes enforcement mechanisms to prevent corporations from outsourcing and increase workers’ wages.
Sanders used the agreement to highlight his belief that Trump’s “biggest lie” during his 2016 presidential campaign was that he is fighting for the working class.
As of now, the trade agreement is tentative and set to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Per Vox, the new deal is essentially the same as NAFTA, but with some new additions, including country of origin rules, labor provisions, and U.S. access to the Canadian dairy market.
Although the agreement was signed by Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto back in November, it still must be ratified by each country’s government. It is not clear what Congress will do given that Democrats control the House and aren’t happy with parts of the deal.
According to the Washington Examiner, Democrats are pushing Mexico to change its labor laws before they agree to back the accord. Although Mexico is in the process of passing reforms, it is still unclear if they will satisfy Democratic lawmakers.
On Friday, a group of 86 Democrats led by Representative Bill Pascrell sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressing their concerns about Mexico’s labor laws just one day after the country’s lower house passed reforms that were intended to address Democrats’ concerns.
“We commend you for negotiating [the reform requirements] in the USMCA, which holds potential to address some key concerns if properly monitored and enforced,” the Democrats said. “However, Mexico has not yet enacted, much less implemented, its labor law reform as required by… USMCA.”
The letter added that although some of Mexico’s proposed legislation “meets and even exceeds the obligations in some respects, [it] must not be allowed to become a game of multiple choice, in which the Parties can pick and choose which obligations they want to enforce.”