The crunch is on as trade negotiators from NAFTA’s 3 countries work overtime to get the best deal for their countries’ investors within the timeline set by the Obama-era Fast Track rules. The crux of Trump’s timed August 31st announcement coincides with the reality that Mexico’s President Pena Nieto must sign off before he leaves office December first. So, it’s do or die time for a NAFTA Reboot between the mandated text-release date of October 1st and the calculated exit of a Mexican president who presided over the opening of fossil fuel investments by U.S. corporate interests, and whose outgoing congress signed off on the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, formerly known as the TPP.
This is a time when we need to decide what trade on the North American continent should look like. We have experience with the NAFTA neoliberal free trade model and it’s primacy of the markets above human needs and environmental rights; We also have a glimpse of protectionism.
Perhaps we should step back now and come to terms with the false dichotomy (served up by mainstream pundits) between free trade and protectionism.
While we don’t know the vast undeclared details of the secretly negotiated, “modernized” iteration of NAFTA, or the deal that was ostensibly agreed upon by Mexico’s outgoing president, Pena Nieto, we do know that Trump’s propensities for deregulation, his disdain for climate science, and his attacks on Mexico’s survival migrant victims of NAFTA, are more than likely reflected in his trade policy.
As the old adage goes, “Knowledge is power,” and to that end, we are pleased to
host two international trade policy analysts well-versed in the dealings of trade negotiators and their likely impacts on those who are elected to represent the rest of us-- those who will eventually be the ones to decide whether our demands for trade justice can possibly be met in a necessarily urgent 21st century trade agreement:
Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and author of The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Authority; and
Ben Beachy, Director, Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, former Research Director for Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and national organizer for Witness for Peace.
It is so important right now that we focus on the purpose of current and future trade agreements. Do we continue to accept the TPP-Style trade agreements that continue to ravage the environment and community power? Or do we truly work together to formulate completely new solutions in an urgent 21st century world? Please join us.