NAFTA, Trumped

Sottotitolo: 
Simply because Trump said NAFTA was bad for American workers, doesn’t mean it wasn’t. Just don’t look to him for a fix.

In mid-August, Donald Trump began his promised renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada. “If we don’t get the deal we want,” he pledged on the campaign trail last year, “we will terminate NAFTA.”

Given that he scuttled Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement upon taking office, Trump’s working class supporters might reasonably think that he will deliver on his promise to make NAFTA “a lot better” or rip it up. They should not hold their breath. On trade—as on health care and taxes—Trump’s gasbag populism is relentlessly deflating. Any changes to NAFTA will be marginal—and they will favor corporate interests.

Still, overall, NAFTA displaced about 850,000 U.S. jobs, concentrated especially in the small- and medium-sized towns in the Midwest whose votes elected him.

But Trump’s claim that American workers lost jobs to Mexicans because U.S. negotiators were outsmarted is simply wrong. The interests of workers were never a priority for those involved in the negotiations. As Jorge Castañeda, later Mexico’s foreign minister, explained, NAFTA was “for the rich and powerful in the United States, Mexico and Canada, an agreement effectively excluding ordinary people in all three societies.” This then became the template for a quarter century of U.S. neoliberal trade deals (e.g., China, Korea, the World Trade Organization) that pushed American workers into brutal global competition for which they were not equipped.

NAFTA is not just a “free-trade” agreement. It is a thousand pages of complex rules that traded away the interests of American workers for those of corporate investors. Corporations are given privileged access to the U.S. market to sell goods produced in Mexico where both workers and government regulators come cheap. Among other things, it includes secret dispute settlement panels of corporate-connected lawyers with the power to override national labor and environmental regulations that may threaten profits.

Proposed by Ronald Reagan, negotiated under George Bush I, and sold to Congress by Bill Clinton, NAFTA was hailed by the governing classes of all three countries as a triumph of economic and political enlightenment. Their workers were told that deregulating trade and investment would create a ladder of upward mobility. Thus, Mexicans would get more jobs at the bottom (making t-shirts and plastic toys). Americans and Canadians would get more jobs at the top (automobiles and TV sets). Prosperity would in turn strengthen human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Mexico.

Skeptics were dismissed as economic Neanderthals. During the congressional debate that proceeded the agreement, a reporter from National Public Radio asked me, in a voice dripping with contempt, “Don’t those autoworkers get it? NAFTA will create a huge middle class market in Mexico for the cars they make.”

But by strengthening the power of the oligarchs that dominate Mexico’s political economy, NAFTA suppressed wages on both sides of the border. (Somewhat less so in Canada where unions and social protections are stronger.)

Today, Mexico produces half of all the autos and parts made in North America. But Mexicans can afford to buy only 8 percent of them. The average Mexican autoworker makes $3 an hour. On average, Mexican labor costs remain roughly 12 percent of those in the United States, and are now about 40 percent below China’s.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s 2014 poverty rate was higher than it was 20 years prior, when NAFTA was first implemented. Human rights and citizen safety has deteriorated as drug lords and criminal gangs with ties to public officials murder and extort with impunity.

Efforts to organize independent labor unions are met with beatings and worse by government-tolerated company thugs. And thanks to NAFTA, low-priced U.S. government subsidized corn and wheat drove several million Mexicans from their farms. Unable to find decent work in the cities, they swelled the rising tide of immigrants into the United States, which Trump so skillfully demagogued in last year’s election.

For Trump to make good on his promise to the American workers who helped elect him, he would need to negotiate an agreement with enforceable labor standards and protections for human rights, democracy, and the environment equaling those given to corporate investors.

Forget it. Trump and the Republican-led Congress are committed to further deregulating worker’s rights. Trump’s economic advisers are the same sort of Wall Street characters that negotiated NAFTA with only their interests in mind 25 years ago. And already, Trump’s government has given access to the otherwise secret negotiations to hundreds of corporate lobbyists, just as the previous Administration did during negotiations for the ill-fated TPP.

Neither has Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, any interest in changing an arrangement that allows his party’s cronies to get rich by selling cheap labor to global investors. Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian prime minister, supports some strengthening of worker and human rights language, but he doesn’t hold much leverage over the other two leaders.

Neither, in some ways, does Trump, whose threat to blow up NAFTA if he doesn’t get what he wants has been largely disarmed by the implacable hostility of both Congress and corporate America to destroying the agreement.

But what does he want anyway? As with most issues, it seems clear that he himself doesn’t know. Required by law to make negotiating objectives public, Trump’s people gave out a vague and largely uninspiring list of changes they will seek. Some are certainly sensible—such as increasing the percentage of North American content in goods allowed to be traded freely in the three countries. Others, like imposing U.S. intellectual property laws on Mexico and Canada would add to the pile of NAFTA’s corporate goodies. Ironically, the Trump agenda for NAFTA looks very much like the Obama agenda for the TPP that Trump killed.

Trump says he wants a deal in six months. Both he and Peña Nieto have reason to conclude one before the Mexican elections are held next July; currently the leftist Andrés López Obrador is ahead in the polls. Yet history suggests this kind of negotiation always takes longer, especially now that Trump has opened it up to a feeding frenzy of corporate lobbyists each being paid to bite out new profit sources for their clients.

However long it takes, neither the American workers who voted for Trump nor the Mexican workers who voted for Peña Nieto will see much improvement in their lives.

And, however marginal the changes, we can be certain that our huckster-in-chief, standing side-by-side with his Mexican counterpart, will try to sell it as the greatest deal in the history of the world.

The question for workers on both sides of the border is whether they will continue to buy it.

Jeff Faux

Jeff Faux, Member of the Editorial Board of Insight, is the founder and former president of the Economic Policy Institute and the author of the new book "The Servant Economy: Where America's Elite is Sending the Middle Class".

Hello to all, the contents

Hello to all, the contents existing at this web site are really remarkable for

people knowledge, well, keep up the good work fellows.

Here is my web site - pornhub casino

Buy Viagra Jelly Keflex

Buy Viagra Jelly Keflex Injection http://costofcial.com - cialis buy online How Much Amoxicillin For Vd Propecia . 5 Mg Eod cialis Kamagra Oral Jelly Effet Secondaire Tretinoin No Prescription Amoxicillin Targets What Bacteria http://costofcial.com - buy cialis Soit 20mg Du Principe Actif Tadalafil Un Inhibiteur De La Pde Cialis Con Hipertension

cialis and sale

cialis and sale

[url=http://www.ieee.org.pe/index.php/component/users/?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=user&id=37754]cheap viagra[/url]

generic viagra

[url=http://walletfm.com/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=14201]viagra cheap[/url]

viagra cheap

[url=http://z13.invisionfree.com/Elephant_Commentator/index.php?showuser=3745]viagra online[/url]

viagra cheap

[url=http://www.divo.tomsk.ru/divo_forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=514789]buy viagra online[/url]

cheap viagra

[url=http://jeanong.com/home.php?mod=space&uid=816921]buy viagra online[/url]

cheap viagra

for use bph cialis

for use bph cialis

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]generic cialis[/url]

cialis onlineenter site cialis soft india

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]cialis[/url]

generic cialis onlinebad credit unsecured loans no guarantor needed

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] cash advance[/url]

payday loans

can 40mg of cialis hurt

can 40mg of cialis hurt

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]generic cialis[/url]

cheap cialiscialis generic

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]cialis[/url]

cialis cheapcash loan no employment verification

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] cash advance[/url]

cash advance

only now super cialis

only now super cialis

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]cialis[/url]

cheap cialisi recommend 5mg cialis online

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]generic cialis online[/url]

cialiscash confiscated

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] cash advance[/url]

personal loans

cialis prescription costs

cialis prescription costs

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]generic cialis[/url]

cialis onlinecialis e levitra per

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]buy cialis online[/url]

generic cialiscash loans with instant approval

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] personal loans[/url]

personal loans

cialis prescription costs

cialis prescription costs

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]generic cialis[/url]

cialis onlinecialis e levitra per

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]buy cialis online[/url]

generic cialiscash loans with instant approval

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] personal loans[/url]

personal loans

acheter cialis cialis

acheter cialis cialis

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]generic cialis online[/url]

cialiscialis generico bugiardino

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]cialis cheap[/url]

buy cialis onlineloan for pool

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] payday loans online[/url]

payday loans online

kpa cialis indien

kpa cialis indien

[url=http://supercialisheree.com/]generic cialis[/url]

buy cialis

cialis isrish pharmacy

cialis u apotekama

cialis u apotekama

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]cialis online[/url]

cialiscialis dose blog

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]buy cialis[/url]

cialis cheapwhat is quick and loans

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] payday express[/url]

cash advance

cheapest cialis in uk more

cheapest cialis in uk more

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]cialis online[/url]

cialis cheaplook here brand name cialis

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]generic cialis[/url]

buy cialisnfsw fast cash

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] payday loans online[/url]

pay day loans

price of cialis in sams club

price of cialis in sams club

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]cheap cialis[/url]

generic cialis onlinelook here brand name cialis

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]cialis[/url]

cialis onlinecash loan express

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] loans for bad credit[/url]

loans for bad credit

buy cialis at walgreens

buy cialis at walgreens

[url=http://cialisonlinezgaq.com/]generic cialis[/url]

generic cialis online

cialis kanada apotheke

sex specialist in canada

sex specialist in canada

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]generic cialis[/url]

cialiscialis generico migliore

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]generic cialis[/url]

buy cialispayment direct loan

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] pay day loans[/url]

payday loans

comprar cialis generico net

comprar cialis generico net

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]generic cialis[/url]

generic cialis onlinecialis medicaments generiques

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]cialis cheap[/url]

buy cialispayday loans in north miami

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] cash advance[/url]

payday loans

cialis zyprexa

cialis zyprexa

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]cialis[/url]

generic cialis onlinelook here brand name cialis

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]generic cialis online[/url]

generic cialisemergency loans for self employed

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] payday loans online[/url]

pay day loans

look here buy generic cialis

look here buy generic cialis

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]cialis online[/url]

cialispaquetes de muestra de cialis

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]generic cialis online[/url]

buy cialis onlinepayday loans in garner nc

[url=http://soloadvance.com/]payday loans[/url]

payday loans online

look here buy generic cialis

look here buy generic cialis

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]cialis online[/url]

cialispaquetes de muestra de cialis

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]generic cialis online[/url]

buy cialis onlinepayday loans in garner nc

[url=http://soloadvance.com/]payday loans[/url]

payday loans online

online generic cialis

online generic cialis

[url=http://cialisonlifast.com/]cialis online[/url]

buy cialis online

only for you buy cialis uk

online generic cialis

online generic cialis

[url=http://cialisonlifast.com/]cialis online[/url]

buy cialis online

only for you buy cialis uk

cialis sample sale

cialis sample sale

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]cialis cheap[/url]

cheap cialisbrand cialis buy canada

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]cialis[/url]

generic cialis onlinecash loans in hull

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] payday express[/url]

payday loans

only now super cialis

only now super cialis

[url=http://cialisjqp.com/]generic cialis[/url]

generic cialiscialis 20 mg faq

[url=http://cialisnji.com/]cialis[/url]

generic cialiscash loan huntsville al

[url=http://soloadvance.com/] payday loans online[/url]

cash advance

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.