Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell agrees with a major campaign promise of President Trump: NAFTA needs to be re-negotiated.
Dingell co-sponsored a resolution introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, last week that she calls a “road map” to reshaping the trade deal.
"Michigan's the heart and soul of the American Auto Industry,” Dingell said. "And since NAFTA passed, we have seen factories shuttered, jobs lost, and real incomes drop for too many people."
Dingell said on the campaign trail, Trump correctly identified that workers in Michigan and elsewhere had been hurt by trade deals, both in terms of job loss and lower wages.
Among the key areas of the trade deal she wants to address, Dingell said she wants to close a “loophole” that encourages Asian manufacturing by changing NAFTA’s “rules of origin” to require that 90% of a product be manufactured in the United States before it qualifies for duty-free status.
“Forty percent of (a vehicle) can be made in Asia and still be labeled a vehicle ‘made in North America,'” Dingell said. “So the rules of origin are tilted and not fair and point blank, must be strengthened by closing those loopholes.”
According to Dingell, currency manipulation by foreign governments is also giving foreign-made goods an unfair advantage on the market.
“I know our workers. We can compete with anybody in the world,” Dingell said. “But we can’t compete with the bank of Japan. We need a level playing field and we need to do something to address it.”
Dingell cited a growing trade deficit as part of the reason to redefine the trade deal as well.
H.R. 132 is a non-binding resolution that practically serves as a way of introducing NAFTA revisions while also signaling support for re-negotiation to President Trump from members of Congress.
“This is showing congressional support, it’s talking about the issues that matter to people, and we need to move forward on doing something,” Dingell said.