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Trump warned against NAFTA auto provisions changes

Ryan Beene

More than 70 House Republicans and Democrats threw their support behind the U.S. auto industry’s opposition to changes the Trump administration has proposed to the North America Free Trade Agreement that companies sayput industry jobs at risk.

The lawmakers expressed "growing concern" over the negotiations to update NAFTA in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Trade talks resumed Wednesday in Mexico City.

The Trump administration has proposed major changes to NAFTA’s auto rules, introducing a requirement that 50 percent of parts for vehicles manufactured in the region be U.S. made. Tightening the so-called rules of origin would undercut industry competitiveness in the region andcould jeopardize the pact itself if rejected by Canada and Mexico, the lawmakers argue.

"Either outcome would adversely affect the U.S. auto industry – reducing sales, production, and exports and harming U.S. workers in the process," the lawmakers wrote.

The letter was circulated by a coalition of auto industry trade associations representing nearly all major vehicle manufacturers, as well as dealers and parts suppliers. Lawmakers signing the letter hail from more than 20 states, including several that Trump won in last year’s presidential election, including Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.