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US lawmakers push for withdrawal from NAFTA

Reuters reports this afternoon that, “A small group of U.S. lawmakers planned to offer legislation Thursday to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement in the latest sign of congressional disillusionment with free-trade deals.”

“The bill spearheaded by Rep. Gene Taylor, a Mississippi Democrat, would require President Barack Obama to give Mexico and Canada six months notice that the United States will no longer be part of 16-year-old trade pact. …Taylor blames NAFTA for a loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs that he believes threatens national security, a spokesman for the conservative 10-term congressman said.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Bart Stupak and Dale Kildee of Michigan, Michael Arcuri of New York, Joe Baca and Bob Filner of California, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Mike Michaud of Maine and Peter Visclosky of Indiana; and Republican Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland.

“Obama criticized NAFTA during the 2008 presidential election campaign but has not followed through on threats to withdraw from the agreement if Canada and Mexico did not agree to revamp the pact’s labor and environmental provisions. But many Democrats are pushing for that and other changes to existing trade deals before considering any new deals such as the deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.”

“Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is expected to vote later this year on whether the United States should remain a member of the World Trade Organization. U.S. law allows House and Senate members to request a vote on that issue every five years. In 2005, 86 of the House’s 435 voting members voted to withdraw from the world trade body.”

In a separate media release, “Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa praised today’s announcement that a bipartisan bill to repeal the North American Free Trade Agreement has been introduced in the House of Representatives.”

The article is at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6233MS20100304?type=politicsNews.