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Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Representing the 25th District of New York

Louise Line: Fighting for Fair Trade

November 14, 2017
Louise Line
October 16, 2017

Last week, I stood in front of the Capitol with my colleagues, surrounded by 400,000 petitions sent to Congress asking the administration to renegotiate NAFTA with the best interests of American workers in mind. I was so proud to be a part of this discussion and want you to know why it’s important for Monroe County and our country.

I've opposed NAFTA from the very start. We must stop signing trade deals that stack the deck against American workers. NAFTA drained our economy of jobs and shipped them overseas and we felt the effects here at home, with the Rochester area losing half our manufacturing jobs. NAFTA is riddled with provisions that advantage foreign corporations and deplete opportunities for American workers.

One of those awful provisions is called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which allows foreign corporations to challenge U.S. laws they don’t like. This could impact laws governing everything from the minimum wage to clean drinking water standards, putting them in the hands of unelected and unaccountable corporate arbitrators. This process occurs completely outside of the U.S. judicial system, making it blatantly undemocratic. Our country has already spent millions of taxpayer dollars defending American laws against ISDS challenges. This provision rips the fair playing field out from underneath American companies, and makes it harder for our country’s innovative workers to compete on the world stage.

I’m not against trade. I’m against bad trade deals, plain and simple. The president has the opportunity to fix many of these problems in NAFTA negotiations that are going on right now. He has consistently promised to do so, and while I don’t agree with the president on much, renegotiating NAFTA is the right thing to do. It’s time for him to prove that those weren’t just empty promises. Let’s renegotiate NAFTA, get rid of the ISDS provision, and bring jobs back to the United States.