1993 Joe Biden Said NAFTA Would Help U.S. Chrysler Workers – Years Later They Were Laid Off

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Former Vice President and Senator Joe Biden (D) was one of the earliest cheerleaders for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which helped to eliminate nearly five million U.S. manufacturing jobs.

During a Senate floor speech in November 1993, Biden said that NAFTA would, specifically, increase jobs and production for American workers employed at Chrysler’s Newark, Delaware plant by opening up the Mexican market.

“Chrysler expects to sell 5,000 more cars to Mexico from their Newark, DE, plant by the end of the decade,” Biden said. “Without NAFTA, Chrysler will have to manufacture more cars in Mexico to meet the requirements of pre-NAFTA laws.”

Years later, in 2007, those American workers at the Newark Chrysler plant were laid off as the plant closed down. At the it’s height, about 5,700 American workers were employed there. When the plant closed, around 700 to 1,100 Americans were left without jobs.

Many of the U.S. workers blamed the unfair foreign competition that they had been subjected to because of free trade and multilateral agreements like NAFTA, which made it easier for corporations to readily outsource American jobs to Mexico.

“Everybody here is mad, upset, the whole gamut of emotions,” a 15-year employee told the Associated Press at the time. “People feel like they got the carpet yanked from underneath them. They feel like there’s really nothing out there for them after this. The economy is really bad, so it’s a hard thing.”

“Half of Congress is buying foreign cars,” another longtime Chrysler worker said. “They should be mandated to buy American cars. If they don’t, how patriotic is that?”

Offshoring production to Mexico has proven cheaper for corporate executives. Where American workers earn $30 an hour, Mexican workers earn about $3 an hour in comparison — a 90 percent cut to wages that has expanded the profit margins of hundreds of former American manufacturers.

Though Biden has routinely claimed that NAFTA created jobs in Delaware and the U.S., NAFTA helped to eliminate nearly 17,000 American jobs due to soaring trade deficits and China’s entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) in his home state. NAFTA, alone, eliminated about 1,200 American jobs in Delaware due to the U.S.-Mexico trade deficit.

As Breitbart News has chronicled, decades-long free trade deals, NAFTA, and China’s entering the WTO eliminated nearly five million manufacturing jobs across the country since 1994. Free trade advocates, like Biden, claimed at the time that NAFTA would create a million U.S. manufacturing jobs in the first five years.

Instead, nearly a million American jobs have been certified by the federal government as being lost directly due to NAFTA, according to data gathered by Public Citizen. These are only the U.S. jobs that the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program recognizes as being lost to free trade and does not indicate the actual number of jobs lost.

This week, Biden defended his support, once again, of NAFTA, job-killing free trade negotiations, and his opposition to tariffs on cheap foreign imports.

“I’m proud of my record,” Biden told local media in Iowa.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder


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