On 14th Anniversary of NAFTA, Edwards Condemns Failed Trade Policies that Hurt Workers and Families

As president, Edwards will give America a trade policy that puts the interests of American workers and communities first

(Derry, NH) – Today, on the fourteenth anniversary of NAFTA, Senator John Edwards delivered remarks condemning NAFTA and other failed trade policies that put the interests of multinational corporations ahead of the needs of working families. At a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, Edwards said that growing up in North Carolina, he saw the effects of unfair trade and failed economic policies when the millwhere he and his father worked shut down. And as president, Edwards said he will give America a trade policy that puts the interests of American workers and communities at its core.

“Fourteen years ago today, the treaty creating NAFTA was signed into law,” said Edwards. “NAFTA was sold to the American people with promises that it would grow the economy and create millions of new jobs. But today, we know those promises were empty. NAFTA has actually cost us more than 1 million American jobs. NAFTA has failed Mexico and Canada too. In all three countries, it has hurt workers and families while helping corporate insiders.

“NAFTA also paved the way for a series of unfair trade deals that have helped create an American economy that is not working for American workers and families,” Edwards continued. “When I’m president, we aren’t going to judge trade deals based on government statistics or corporate bottom lines. Instead, we’re going to look at the impact of trade deals on hard-working families.”

In New Hampshire, the impact of NAFTA and similar free trade deals has meant that the mills that have been the backbone of the North Country economy are closing their doors. The recent closures of the paper mills in Berlin and Groveton have devastated those communities. Some of the only jobs available to those workers now are tearing down the very mills that used to employ them.

To address the devastating impacts that bad trade policies can have on workers and communities, Edwards will insist that our trade deals provide clear and measurable benefits for American workers – considering their impact on prices as well as wages and jobs. Edwards believes that if you give American workers a level playing field, they will succeed in the global economy. Instead of expanding the failed NAFTA model, Edwards will make sure we have a trade policy that puts the interests of America workers and communities at its core. Edwards’ plan for smart trade builds on his comprehensive agenda to helpAmerican families through universal health care, fairer taxes, stronger unions and investments in innovation and skills.

For more information on Edwards’ proposals for 'Smart and Safe Trade' <---- Click Here

Also included below are excerpts from Edwards’ remarks as prepared for delivery in Derry, New Hampshire.

Excerpts from Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

December 8, 2007

“Fourteen years ago today, the treaty creating NAFTA was signed into law. NAFTA was sold to the American people with promises that it would grow the economy and create millions of new jobs. But today, we know those promises were empty. NAFTA has actually cost us more than 1 million American jobs. NAFTA has failed Mexico and Canada too. Inall three countries, it has hurt workers and families while helping corporate insiders.

“The fingerprints of the big multinationals who lobbied for NAFTA are all over it. You can see them in provisions like Chapter 11, which gives companies the right to sue a government if they think its laws damage their bottom line. Provisions like Chapter 11 threaten our government’s ability to carry out its core mission of protecting American citizens, of standing up for their well being, for their jobs, and for our environment. They are un-democratic and when I’m president, I’ll make sure they stay out of our trade deals.

“NAFTA also paved the way for a series of unfair trade deals that have helped create an American economy that is not working for American workers and families. Since President Bush took office, more than 5 million jobs have been lost overseas. Roughly twenty percent of all the jobs in our economy today – 25 to 30 million jobs – could potentially be sent offshore over the next decade. The folks in Washington say that trade is good for the economy, even if it hurts a few ‘losers.’ That’s the word they use– ‘losers’ – and it tells you something about how they see regular American workers and families who are struggling to compete.

“When I’m president, we aren’t going to judge trade deals based on government statistics or corporate bottom lines. Instead, we’re going to look at the impact of trade deals on hard-working families. Trade deals can create jobs, but they can also cost us jobs. They can bring down prices, but they can also hold down wages. The question I will ask about each trade deal is simple: all things considered, does it make most regular families better off or not?

“The truth is that fixing our nation’s trade policies is not going to be easy. Powerful corporations like things the way they are. But we cannot continue down the path we’re on now. American families and workers deserve better…. As president, I will wake up every day fighting for America’s workers and families. For every one of you in this room. Because I know that together, we can rise to the challenges weface, we can pass the test in front of us, and together, we can build a better America.”