But the Democrats who controlled the Congress would not approve the agreement. It is equally wrong to allow extralegal tribunals for corporations to do end-runs around national regulation. NAFTA gives each nation the right to opt out of the agreement. That could produce millions of good jobs and new made-in-USA technologies and industries, as well as renewed credibility for an activist government.
But Trump, for all his weirdness, has a keen nose for winning political symbolism. This would obviously not be easy. In the midst of collective bargaining negotiations with unions, some companies would even start loading machinery into trucks that they said were bound for Mexico.
And when Democrat Bill Clinton was elected init was widely assumed that the political pendulum would swing back from the right, and that therefore NAFTA would never pass.
Previously, Trump had insisted that he would withdraw the U. Follow him on Twitter at rkuttnerwrites. To be sure, there were some job gains along the border in service and retail sectors resulting from increased trucking activity, but these gains are small in relation to the loses, and are in lower paying occupations.
Third, the destructive effect of NAFTA on the Mexican agricultural and small business sectors dislocated several million Mexican workers and their families, and was a major cause in the dramatic increase in undocumented workers flowing into the U. His proposal to charge foreign health systems more for drugs would boost pharmaceutical profits and not reduce prices for American consumers.
He has wildly oscillated between getting tough with China and proposing sweetheart deals that serve his own business interests. The result has been 20 years of stagnant wages and the upward redistribution of income, wealth and political power. In terms of U. His other trade policies are all over the map.
It would be salutary to have a real debate, one that progressives could win, about what could truly Make America Great Again.
First, it caused the loss of somejobs as production moved to Mexico. Fourth, and ultimately most important, NAFTA was the template for rules of the emerging global economy, in which the benefits would flow to capital and the costs to labor.
Wages and benefits have fallen behind worker productivity in all three countries. By establishing the principle that U.
In each case, the U. Yet there is a positive, progressive version of economic nationalism waiting in the wings. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Of course, President Donald Trump has undercut his senior aides before, and there is no telling what he might impulsively do if the mood strikes him.
The same threats were used to fight union organizing efforts. This put further downward pressure on U. This provision, among others, proved too much for Mexico to swallow, with that country facing its own presidential election on July 1, but it is emblematic of how the Trump administration has shifted the conversation on trade.
The other option is to build a cross border political movement to rewrite NAFTA in a way that gives ordinary citizens rights and labor protections at least equal to the current privileges of corporate investors.
Another would add more accurate rules of origin so that inputs substantially made in China are not credited as produced in North America.
His regulatory changes reduce protections for workers and consumers. But a foundation has already been laid by growing collaboration among immigrant, trade unionist, human rights and other activist organizations in all three counties. Posted December 9, at 4: As soon as NAFTA became law, corporate managers began telling their workers that their companies intended to move to Mexico unless the workers lowered the cost of their labor.
His tax reform serves mainly corporations. Most of these losses came in California, Texas, Michigan, and other states where manufacturing is concentrated.
That embrace gave a huge opening to Trump. Moreover, it paved the way for the rest of the neoliberal agenda in the US—the privatization of public services, the regulation of finance, and the destruction of the independent trade union movement.
Bush and Ronald Reagan — promoted global trade deals that plainly served corporations at the expense of workers. But in a climate of resentment against weakened job opportunity, compounded by a mashup of identity conflicts, a little economic nationalism goes a long way.
Moreover, despite declining wages in the United States, the gap between the typical American and typical Mexican worker in manufacturing remains the same. A decade later, his Republican successor, George H.As a deadline for NAFTA negotiations set by House Speaker Paul Ryan came and went on May 17, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin now says that the negotiations are still alive and might even extend.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NATFA) was the door through which American workers were shoved into the neoliberal global labor market. By establishing the principle that U.S. corporations could relocate production elsewhere and sell back into the United States, NAFTA undercut the.Download