Sen. Tom Carper, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee and the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, released a statement Dec. 15 regarding the agreement reached on the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is intended to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Carper has pressed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the importance of making sure USMCA’s environmental rules can be fully enforced.
“Every week, I travel around Delaware doing ‘customer calls’ with the local businesses that drive our state’s economy,” said Carper. “In those meetings, I always ask three questions: How are you doing? How do you think your local, state and federal leaders are doing? And what can we do to better help you run a successful operation in the First State? The feedback I hear time and time again is that businesses want certainty and predictability. They want to know the rules of the road and to know that those rules will be followed.”
“After years of uncertainty thanks to the president’s haphazard trade wars, it is good news for American farmers, manufacturers, producers and retailers that we were able to get to yes on USMCA,” said Carper. “After all, our economy depends on making sure other countries can sell to us and that we can sell to other countries, especially close allies like Canada and Mexico. I would much prefer that the president be working towards more comprehensive agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral agreement designed to lower tariffs for the 12 participating nations, counter China’s growing influence in the region and help American workers and businesses compete and win in our global economy. But instead, President Trump foolishly pulled out of that deal and has shortsightedly opted for a piecemeal approach that leaves opportunities for American goods and services to reach overseas markets on the table. That being said, I am glad that an agreement could finally be reached, and I applaud Speaker Pelosi, Ways and Means Chairman Neal, Trade Subcommittee Chairman Blumenauer, Reps. Bonamici and Larson and the other members of the House Democrats’ NAFTA working groups and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for working together to strengthen the deal.”
“Strong trade deals that include equally strong enforcement mechanisms can help to boost the competitiveness of American industry and foster a nurturing environment for job growth in our country,” said Carper. “I have repeatedly pressed the Administration to ensure that the environmental rules in the renegotiated NAFTA can be fully enforced. If a trade deal does not include mechanisms to actually enforce the rules it lays out — and if we don’t ensure robust monitoring mechanisms and sufficient resources for enforcement of the deal’s environmental obligations — then it’s not worth the paper it is printed on. I’m very pleased to see that my recommendations — including additional and dedicated funding for environmental monitoring and enforcement, creation of a new interagency committee to better coordinate U.S. monitoring and enforcement efforts and newly established environmental attachés in Mexico City — were included in the improvements negotiated by Democrats. I’m especially proud that this deal includes a new mechanism to trigger environmental reviews that gives stakeholders — the people on the ground and those seeing potential violations firsthand — an expanded role in enforcement matters and holds the administration accountable for pursuing enforcement of the deal’s environmental obligations. I was glad to work with Chairman Blumenauer to develop this provision, and I’m pleased it was included to ensure that environmental violations can be investigated, but also remedied in a substantive and timely manner. These new measures will help to ensure that the agreement’s environmental goals can actually be met and those that break the rules can actually be held accountable.”
“The bipartisan agreement and broad support that this deal has garnered speaks volumes. I look forward to further analyzing the agreement and moving it expeditiously through the Finance Committee and the Senate,” said Carper.