Renegotiating NAFTA: Hold the cheers

Trump promised a “stronger and better” deal. The only equitable one is fair, not free, trade benefiting everyone, not business and large investors exclusively.

That’s not what he has in mind. What’s known suggests he intends largely replicating TPP’s final text, making NAFTA worse, not better—favoring investors over consumers and workers, reneging on halting jobs offshored to low-wage countries, maintaining NAFTA/TPP jobs-destroying rules.

On July 17, the Trump administration published its renegotiation objectives. Commenting, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach explained they don’t “describe the promised transformation of NAFTA to prioritize working people that some voters were expecting based on President Trump’s campaign pledges.”

Under a single NAFTA program alone, more than 910,000 US jobs were lost. Trump’s document is vague, Wallach saying it resembles TPP.

“The bad stuff is not going to get cut,” she explained. The renegotiated deal may be worse than the original—harming consumers and environment to benefit business.

The only way to reduce the deficit and create more manufacturing jobs, Trump’s stated objectives, is by eliminating incentives for companies to offshore jobs—including ending the ban on buy American, along with mandating labor and environmental protections.

Things look like that won’t happen, said Wallach. GOP leaders and corporate lobbyists demand TPP provisions be added to NAFTA.

What’s known or suggested indicates that’s the plan. The text repeats provisions of the 2015 fast track legislation Congress passed. Republicans and corporate lobbyists support them.

Consumer and environmental groups strongly oppose them. It’s clear which side is likely to prevail—Trump going along, breaching one of his core campaign pledges.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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