Did Trump Get It Right on NAFTA 2.0?

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by Robert Scheer.

During the second presidential debate of 1992, business magnate and independent candidate Ross Perot warned we’d hear a “giant sucking sound” of American jobs leaving the country if the U.S. enacted the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. Perot was largely dismissed at the time, perhaps because he himself was so eminently dismissible, but you can draw a straight line from NAFTA to the election of Donald Trump 24 years later.

Championed by Ronald Reagan and ultimately enacted by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the pact has hollowed out the manufacturing industry, leaving millions of Americans destitute and resentful. Enter Trump, who campaigned across the Upper Midwest on the message that NAFTA was “the worst trade deal in the history of the country” and that our partners were taking advantage of us. As director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade and a 25-year veteran of congressional trade battles Lori Wallach reveals in the latest episode of “Scheer Intelligence,” he got it half-right, hyperbole notwithstanding.

“Trump [has this] nationalistic notion that ‘they stuck it to us.’  No!” she says. “Actually workers throughout North America got steamrolled by corporate America, united with some big Canadian and Mexican counterparts. … It was not rocket science to predict that NAFTA would lead to a million-job loss. It was designed to do that.”

Which brings us to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement agreed to earlier this month and currently headed to Congress for approval. Much to her astonishment, Wallach believes it may actually represent an improvement on NAFTA, despite extending “more extreme, new rights and privileges to big pharmaceutical companies.” Even Trump’s trade wars, which spooked the stock market upwards of 1,300 points this week, could conceivably have long-term benefits for American workers.

“Whether the final package is going to be able to stop NAFTA’S ongoing damage … stop outsourcing jobs to Mexico … [and] stop attacks on environmental, health, water, and energy laws—that’s going to be the test,” she says.

Listen to her full interview with Robert Scheer below: