News Release

Michigan’s Huge Job Losses from Biden-Backed NAFTA


CommonDreams reports in “Will Biden’s Trade Policy Record Come Back to Haunt Him in Midwest?” that: “Sen. Bernie Sanders and supporters of his presidential campaign took on 2020 Democratic primary foe former Vice President Joe Biden’s record on trade to sharpen the contrasts between the two candidates ahead of … contests in six states, including the Rust Belt state of Michigan [on Tuesday].”

The piece notes that if Biden were the Democratic nominee, he would be vulnerable to attacks from Trump for his support of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other such deals — indeed, CommonDreams reports: “Joe Biden made a deal, NAFTA,” the president said Thursday at an event in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “He approved it, he was pushing it. It’s the worst trade deal ever made.”

LORI WALLACH, via Matt Groch, mgroch at, @PCGTW
Director of Global Trade Watch, a division of Public Citizen, Wallach — a leading expert on such trade deals — has worked to document the results of NAFTA over the years and has summarized her findings regarding Michigan: “We’ve received a lot of requests for data on NAFTA’s effects in Michigan. [A summary is available here.] Michigan lost 40 percent of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA with 170,000 government-certified as lost to trade just under the narrow Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.

“With respect to the auto sector, before NAFTA, there were only a handful of carmakers producing in Mexico. Now major automakers operate almost two dozen assembly plants in Mexico, which thanks to NAFTA provides a duty-free export platform into the U.S. market for goods made by workers who earn less per day than many U.S. auto workers earn per hour. General Motors is now the top carmaker in Mexico, locating production of bestselling models like the Chevy Blazer in Mexico while it closed U.S. plants. Also producing in Mexico are Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, Volkswagen and Audi.

“Despite there being no Mexican auto companies, Mexico’s auto sector employment rose from 120,000 before NAFTA to more than 735,000 today. More than 350,000 U.S. auto sector jobs were lost during the NAFTA era, one-third of all jobs in the sector. … Prior to NAFTA, Mexico did not have a major auto parts sector but currently more than 1,000 factories are producing auto parts and other inputs.

“NAFTA facilitated the shift of U.S. auto production to Mexico by providing investor protections and investor compensation guarantees that effectively subsidized outsourcing and investments in new multi-million dollar facilities in Mexico while simultaneously guaranteeing a duty-free export platform into the U.S. market for goods made by workers making a fraction of U.S. wages. Bank of America noted that Mexican manufacturing wages are 40 percent lower than manufacturing wages in China. Wages in Mexican auto assembly plants range on average between $2-$4 per hour.”