Wise: A Progressive Agenda for Renegotiating NAFTA

Labor News

About 200 Teamsters raise their signs while protesting new NAFTA trucking regulations outside the Holiday Inn in San Diego in June 1996. The Teamsters protested a meeting on the North American Free Trade Agreement against lifting a ban on Mexican trucks being allowed on US roads and highways. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Reprinted from TruthOut by Timothy Wise on November 24, 20016.

“During the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, or withdraw the United States from the pact,” writes Timothy Wise in TruthOut.

“Although no one at Trump Tower so far has asked me for advice (and I’m not waiting by my phone for a call), I know a little bit about this subject: Eight years ago I helped convene a panel of experts to make recommendations to another president who promised to rewrite NAFTA. …

“Rather than treating Mexico as the enemy in a deal that simply sent US jobs south, we followed the more accurate critique Obama made as a candidate for the White House: ‘While NAFTA gave broad rights to investors, it paid only lip service to the rights of labor and the importance of environmental protection.’

“Our experts, from the United States, Canada and Mexico, identified ways in which different parts of the agreement favored multinational firms at the expense of labor and the environment. The panel recommended a wholesale revision of the investment chapter of the deal, which was the first to allow corporations to sue governments over measures that impeded their profits. In other words, long before Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Masschusetts) campaigned against the so-called Investor State Dispute Settlement system as a rigged deal that favored big money over workers, we recommended the special courts be scrapped. …

TruthOut 11/24

About Jeffrey Burman 2743 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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