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Ohio Democrat Cautiously Supports Trump's Renegotiation of NAFTA

Rep. Tim Ryan
WKSU
/
Congressman Tim Ryan says he believes it would be impractical to try to abandon NAFTA altogether because of more than 20 years of blended economies. But he says a new deal with labor, consumer and environmental protections would serve Ohio better.

The Trump administration is to begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement tomorrow and has the qualified support of Ohio Democrats like Congressman Tim Ryan. But issues like transparency, labor rights and the environment may erode that support.

Midwestern Democrats like the Youngstown area’s Ryan have maintained for years that NAFTA needs to be reworked.

He says it has helped shift jobs overseas and lower wages here, while doing nothing to boost wages for one of the key partners, Mexico. But Ryan also is calling for transparency during negotiations, including access to staff negotiating documents and a final version of the agreement.

“This is not a private company that the administration is running," Ryan says. "It’s a public entity; it’s a government that has elected officials involved in it. And you’ve got to have transparency and you’ve got to make sure that organized labor’s included in these discussions, that the environmental organizations are included in the discussions, the consumer groups.”

Ryan was among those critical of the secrecy by the Obama administration that surrounded negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal the Trump administration abandoned.