Monthly Archives: January 2020

The New U.S. Trade Deal Is Climate Sabotage

It’s also great for fossil fuel companies.

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If this week is the “Super Bowl” of trade policy—as Republican Senator Rob Portman called it Wednesday—the planet won’t be getting a ring. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the Nafta replacement that passed 89-10 through the Senate on Thursday, never mentions the climate crisis. It will do plenty to fuel it.

“Trump’s Nafta 2.0 is a climate failure any way you slice it,” the Sierra Club’s Ben Beachy told me. Beyond continuing to allow companies to seek lax climate and environmental rules outside the United States, the USMCA also lets them challenge new regulations proposed by countries signed onto it before they’re finalized, establishing hurdles to any future climate policy under a new administration.

The deal also goes out of the way to protect fossil fuel companies. All of the tar sands oil that flows to the U.S. from Canada via the Keystone XL pipeline will be exempt from tariffs under the USMCA. While the deal has been praised for largely eliminating Nafta’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions—which made it easy for corporations to challenge governments over laws they don’t like—there are some troubling exceptions to that policy under the USMCA: Oil and gas companies that have contracts with the Mexican government, for example, will still be allowed to challenge any potential threats to their profits posed by state policy. “It’s like saying we’re going to protect the henhouse by keeping all animals away except for foxes,” Beachy said, adding that “today’s vote moves us one step closer to locking in Trump’s polluting legacy for decades to come.” Climate and environmental groups broadly opposed the deal, including some—like the Natural Resources Defense Council—that enthusiastically backed Nafta 1.0 in the 1990s.

While 83 percent of Democratic voters believe trade agreements should address climate change, the party’s congressional delegation largely rallied behind a deal that will make it worse. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed hard to get the USCMA through the House, where it passed by a wide margin. With varying levels of enthusiasm, liberal stalwarts like Senator Sherrod Brown backed it, citing support from the AFL-CIO, along with most of the GOP and the American Petroleum Institute. “For the natural gas and oil industry, USMCA means more jobs, stronger energy security and continued economic growth,” the API’s President and CEO Mark Sommers boasted. On the other side, trade unions like the Machinists, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and the National Family Farm Coalition joined climate groups in opposing the agreement. It’s been reliably opposed, as well, by indigenous peoples up and down North America for its violations of land rights and the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent for policies affecting them. Minutes before Thursday’s vote, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer joined Senators Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, Kristin Gillibrand, and Kamala Harris in declaring that he was voting against the USMCA “because it does not address climate change, the greatest threat facing our planet.”

Sanders and liberal billionaire Tom Steyer each spoke out against the USMCA as candidates in Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate, where the former was scolded by a CNN moderator for linking climate and trade. While noting that the deal wasn’t perfect, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Elizabeth Warren—who ended up voting for it—all voiced their support. “Imagine in the year 2020 we have a major trade agreement that does not even mention the words climate change,” Sanders reiterated from the Senate floor yesterday. “Trade is a good thing, done well. But this trade agreement does not accomplish that end.”

So what could a good trade deal in a warming world look like?

Better accounting could help. As a major fossil fuel exporter and prolific consumer of carbon-intensive imports, the U.S. is responsible for a tremendous amount of emissions that aren’t counted in standard national-level greenhouse gas totals, which generally measure emissions produced within a country’s borders. The first phase of an agreement between the U.S. and China signed this week, for instance, commits the latter to buying $52.4 billion worth of American energy—much of it in the form of oil and gas. Despite the enormous carbon footprint of U.S. businesses at home and abroad, debates on trade and climate in the U.S. have historically happened in separate sandboxes. “Domestic policy, trade policy, and climate policy all happen in their own silos, and there isn’t a lot of systematic attention being paid to how to bring those conversations together,” Todd Tucker, a political scientist and fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, told me.

Over the last 30 years, trade agreements have gotten stronger as climate deals have grown weaker. At the urging of both Republican and Democratic administrations in the U.S., the Paris Agreement swapped out the binding framework from the Kyoto Protocol for a so-called “bottom-up” system, wherein countries make voluntary commitments (“Nationally Determined Contributions”) that may eventually limit the world’s warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), instead of three or four degrees. There’s a requirement that countries present new NDCs every so often, but many can simply resubmit their original commitments rather than ratcheting up ambition during each new pledge period. Trade agreements, by contrast, generally have stringent enforcement mechanisms and create paths for corporations to challenge sovereign governments over everything from “buy local” provisions to anti-dumping laws.

While the fight for a binding United Nations climate treaty has largely been lost, many environmental activists see trade deals and potentially even bodies like the World Trade Organization as one avenue where enforcement might still be possible. Beyond encouraging more narrow measures like border carbon adjustments—fees to make the price of imports and exports reflect their carbon costs—new rules could further mandate that parties to them strengthen and live up to their commitments under the Paris Agreement or face sanctions and lose access to valuable markets.

Trade agreements have the potential to be a key mechanism by which China—now the top total emitter of greenhouse gases—is brought to the climate crisis fight, as well. The trade war President Trump initiated with Beijing hasn’t helped with that. But hawkish rhetoric from Democrats—framing decarbonization as a race against China over who can build the most clean energy—isn’t helping much either. Jonas Nahm, a political scientist at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, argues for much deeper collaboration between the two countries rather than reinventing the wheel of green manufacturing. “China controls so much of the manufacturing capacity for so many of the technologies we need to combat climate change that—in the time frame that we have to make a difference—the world cannot replicate this ecosystem elsewhere. It took China 30 years to build the capacity to do this, and so now it’s making 60 percent of the world’s solar panels, nearly 70 percent of the batteries, and a third of the wind turbines,” he said. “We don’t have any of the basic ingredients that you would need to do the same thing China is doing. To try replicate that elsewhere will just delay us infinitely.”

While American progressives talk enthusiastically about ramping up green manufacturing, Nahm said that vision is “very divorced from reality right now, in terms of what we actually make.” The U.S. has little of the technical expertise, trained workers, or institutional support in place to mirror China’s booming clean manufacturing sector (itself spurred by demand from Germany’s shift to renewables) anytime soon. But by exercising massive purchasing power in the world’s renewables market, the U.S. under a Democratic administration could demand far higher labor and environmental standards across its supply chains. “If there’s a demand for products that are certified in a certain way, I’m sure manufacturers would jump on,” Nahm added.

As climate advocates look to map out a climate-friendly trade regime, they’ll have to figure out how to keep existing trade policy from undermining emissions reductions at home. Oil and gas companies have been among the most active users of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system; according to data compiled by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, roughly 40 percent of international arbitration cases initiated by investors against states related to environmental and energy issues. And virtually any kind of green industrial policy could be subject to ISDS-style fights—including “almost any plank of the Green New Deal,” Todd Tucker said. Beyond climate and environmental regulations and bans on fracking, “‘Buy Local’ policies in state, local, or federal initiatives, procurement policies, subsidy schemes contingent on local production … all of that stuff would be very fair game for investment treaty complaints. Almost anything that impacts methods of production in any way would be fair game for a challenge.” All trade deals, it turns out, are climate deals.

Taken From:https://newrepublic.com/article/156240/new-us-trade-deal-climate-sabotage

Trump’s NAFTA 2.0: An Environmental Failure

Before, during, and after the Trump administration’s renegotiation of NAFTA, leading environmental organizations
repeatedly named specific changes to curb NAFTA’s environmental damage. The administration ignored nearly all of our
concerns, producing a deal in 2018 that would exacerbate the climate crisis, encourage further outsourcing of pollution
and jobs, offer handouts to notorious corporate polluters, and prolong Trump’s polluting legacy for years.

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To correct these environmental failures, environmental groups repeatedly offered detailed recommendations for essential
changes to the 2018 deal, as summarized in a recent letter to Congress. On December 10, 2019, the Trump administration
signed a “protocol of amendment” with some revisions to the 2018 deal. A review of the text of the protocol reveals that
the deal’s core environmental failures have not been resolved.
Below are the essential changes to NAFTA 2.0 that the environmental community has consistently called for, and an
assessment of whether the revised deal meets the mark, based on the text of the 2019 revision. In short, the revised deal
would perpetuate NAFTA’s environmental damage.

1. Binding climate standards: FAIL
● Why it matters: Binding climate standards are essential to curb outsourcing of climate pollution and jobs and to
ensure the U.S. and its trading partners fulfill commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement. The U.S. is by far the
world’s largest outsourcer of climate pollution, thanks in part to trade deals that ignore climate change. In
September, 110 members of Congress called for binding climate standards in a renegotiated NAFTA, reinforcing
a longstanding demand of the environmental community.
● What’s in NAFTA 2.0: Far from including binding climate standards, the 2018 deal failed to even mention
climate change. Nor does the 2019 revision. This glaring omission would leave intact NAFTA’s incentives for
corporations to dodge the hard-fought clean energy policies of U.S. states by moving to Mexico, eliminating jobs
and perpetuating climate pollution.
2. Binding clean air, water, and land standards: FAIL
● Why it matters: There is a well-documented track record of corporations using NAFTA to dodge our hard-fought
environmental standards by shifting their production to Mexico, free of charge, to dump toxic air and water
pollution under Mexico’s weaker environmental policies. The result has been job loss in the U.S. and toxic
poisoning in border communities. To reverse this damage, we have consistently called for a revised deal to
include binding limits on air, water, and land pollution.
● What’s in NAFTA 2.0: The 2018 deal barely mentions pollution and fails to include specific and binding terms to
actually address documented pollution dumping. For example, the text “recognizes that air pollution is a serious
threat to public health,” but then fails to include a single binding rule to reduce the air pollution that NAFTA has
exacerbated. The 2019 revision repeats this failure by omitting essential limits on air, water, or land pollution.
3. Obligations to fulfill commitments under key multilateral environmental agreements: PARTIAL FAIL
● Why it matters: The environmental community asked for a renegotiated NAFTA to require each country to adopt,
maintain, and implement policies to fulfill their obligations under top-priority Multilateral Environmental
Agreements (MEAs), including all of the MEAs to which the U.S. is a party and other critical MEAs ratified by most
countries in the world. Otherwise, countries will continue to have the incentive to violate their MEA commitments in
order to boost trade or investment, spelling threats to air, water, climate stability, and ecosystems.
● What’s in NAFTA 2.0: The deal replicates the same, inadequate list of seven MEAs that were reinforced in the last
four U.S. trade agreements. (The 2019 revision returns to the inadequate status quo after the 2018 deal took a step
backwards by only effectively reinforcing one MEA.) The deal makes no mention of additional top-priority MEAs

that serve critical roles for trade-related environmental protection, including other MEAs ratified by the U.S. and/or
nearly all countries in the world concerning climate change, transboundary air pollution, mercury pollution,
protection of the Caribbean, and other environmental priorities.
4. A new, independent and binding enforcement system to stop environmental violations: FAIL
● Why it matters: Under the enforcement mechanisms of existing U.S. trade agreements, the U.S. has never even
brought a case against a trade partner for systemic environmental abuses, despite widely documented violations.
To correct this categorical failure, we have repeatedly called for an effective enforcement mechanism that is both
binding and independent. That means creating a body of environmental experts, independent from any
government (to avoid conflicts of interest), to proactively investigate and initiate cases against environmental
abuses. And it means that findings of environmental abuses must be subject to trade sanctions.
● What’s in NAFTA 2.0: Instead of including an independent and binding enforcement system for environmental
terms, the 2018 deal largely replicated the same, weak enforcement mechanisms of past trade deals that have
consistently failed to curb environmental abuses. The 2019 revision repeats this failure, as it does not create an
independent body to investigate and initiate cases against environmental abuses. Instead, the implementing
legislation for NAFTA 2.0 creates an “interagency committee” that is not independent and that has virtually no
power to correct environmental abuses. The committee can only write non-binding reports and in rare instances
issue non-binding recommendations. The committee is chaired by the U.S. Trade Representative, an agency
whose clear conflict of interest has consistently inhibited environmental enforcement in U.S. trade deals to date.
Due to this copy and paste of a failed enforcement system, the environmental terms of NAFTA 2.0, even if they
were strong, are unlikely to be enforced.
5. Removal of corporate polluter handouts that support tar sands oil and fracked gas: FAIL
● Why it matters: The Trump administration’s 2018 text included a new “rule of origin” that would make it cheaper
for oil corporations to export climate-polluting tar sands oil to the U.S. through dangerous oil pipelines like
Keystone XL. The text also failed to include a provision that is needed to preserve the U.S.’s autonomy to
determine if gas exports to Mexico and Canada are in the public interest. This provision is necessary to fix
NAFTA’s automatic gas export guarantee, which has contributed to a five-fold surge in gas exports to Mexico
since 2010, fueling increased fracking in the U.S. and expansion of controversial cross-border gas pipelines.
● What’s in NAFTA 2.0: The deal’s 2019 revision keeps intact both of these handouts to corporate polluters. As
such, the deal would promote reliance on fossil fuels, undercutting our transition to a clean energy economy.
6. Elimination of broad rights for corporate polluters to sue Mexico over environmental policies: FAIL
● Why it matters: While the 2018 text curtailed NAFTA’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement system, it preserved
this illegitimate, shadow legal system for notorious corporate polluters like Chevron and ExxonMobil. The deal
would let oil and gas corporations with Mexican government contracts sue Mexico over climate and
environmental protections in private tribunals, using the same broad corporate rights that they’ve repeatedly used
to successfully challenge environmental policies.
● What’s in NAFTA 2.0: The 2019 revision failed to eliminate this clear-cut handout to oil and gas corporations. As
such, the revised deal would allow corporate polluters to sue Mexico in private tribunals if new environmental
policies undercut their government contracts for offshore drilling, fracking, oil and gas pipelines, refineries, or
other polluting activities.
7. Elimination of rules that would help corporate polluters weaken our environmental regulations: FAIL
● Why it matters: The 2018 text included new, binding rules – not found in any prior U.S. trade agreement – that
offer corporations multiple opportunities to challenge proposed regulations before they are finalized, and to ask
that existing regulations be “repealed” for being more burdensome than necessary. After Donald Trump leaves
office, we will need to swiftly enact stronger environmental regulations to reverse his administration’s many
harmful environmental rollbacks. That task will be difficult if regulators face onerous requirements to justify
proposed regulations in response to repeated challenges from the corporations that would be regulated.
● What’s in NAFTA 2.0: The deal’s 2019 revision failed to revise or delete these deregulatory rules. As such,
NAFTA 2.0 could help corporations slow down or weaken the process of re-regulation, extending Trump’s
polluting legacy even after Trump leaves office.

Taken From: https://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/Trump-NAFTA-Environment-Failure.pdf

How About Some NAFTA Rights for U.S. Workers?

The Trump administration’s efforts on behalf of Mexican labor belie an aggressive anti-worker project at home.

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his week, our friend Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio took the Senate floor to explain how the Brown-Wyden amendment to the new NAFTA deal strengthens rights of workers in Mexico. As Brown explained:

A worker in Mexico will be able to report a company violating their rights, and within months … We can apply punitive damages when corporations stop workers from organizing, and if they keep doing it, we can stop their goods from coming into the U.S. at all.

When Mexican workers have the power to form real unions and negotiate for higher wages, it helps American workers. Right now, Mexican workers can be paid as little as $6.50 a day—not an hour, a day. And we’ve been asking American workers to compete with that.

This is real progress, and heaven knows our brother and sister workers in Mexico, whose nominal right to form independent unions has never been respected, need these protections. And good on Brown and Senator Ron Wyden for demanding that these improvements be included in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal (USMCA) that replaces NAFTA.

At the same time, there is something a little weird about the Trump administration agreeing to provisions protecting workers in Mexico—that walled-off land of rapists and criminals—while his Labor Department and National Labor Relations Board have been doubling down on the project of destroying unions and collective bargaining at home. The new USMCA doesn’t touch that.

The law requires the labor board to have members from both parties. But with the expiration of Democrat Lauren McFerran’s term in mid-December, the board for the first time in its 85-year history is comprised of three Republicans, all of whom happen to be white men—and not a single Democrat. The other Democratic seat on the five-member board has been vacant since last August, but the Trump administration has not moved to fill it.

The board has taken its agenda directly from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has proposed ten measures to weaken worker protections. All ten have either been enacted by the NLRB or are in process.

These include overturning Obama-era rules that made it harder for management to delay union representation elections; increasing management’s ability to require workers with grievances to use compulsory arbitration typically rigged in the company’s favor; making it easier for management to impose disciplinary penalties on workers without bargaining with the union; allowing management to prohibit employees from using the company email system to discuss workplace issues with other employees; and a great deal more.

For a full summary of Trump anti-worker NLRB actions, check out this report from the Economic Policy Institute.

Thanks to the clear bias of the labor board, which is supposed to be a neutral referee and upholder of the law, union busting by management has reached new heights. According to another EPI research report, in more than half of all NLRB-supervised elections in bargaining units with 60 or more employees in 2016 and 2017, management was charged with violations of law. One pro-union worker in five was fired, and nearly one in three was disciplined, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Trump NLRB has also changed the rules to make it easier for employers to treat workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Meanwhile, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has several proposed or pending rules, including rules governing permissible noise levels in construction, safety rules in welding, and permissible chemical exposure levels.

In short, it’s open season on workers and unions, with the federal government openly working to help enable the corporate anti-union and anti-worker agenda.

When the labor provisions of the revised NAFTA were first proposed, some hoped that it would provide a basis not just for Mexican workers to challenge unfair labor practices in their country, but for American workers to do likewise. That never happened.

It is more than a little ironic that Donald Trump, probably the most viciously union-busting president ever, as well as a demonizer of all things Mexican, should get some credit for being pro-worker because the revised NAFTA modestly enhances enforceable rights for Mexican workers.

Whatever happened to Make America Great Again? What’s good enough for Mexican workers should be good north of the border, too.

Taken From: https://prospect.org/labor/how-about-some-nafta-rights-for-u-s-workers/

America’s food safety takes back seat in new trade deal

American consumers today are empowered with more information than ever before. With smartphones, social media, and countless online reviews at their fingertips, it’s never been easier to learn everything about the products they buy. But when it comes to the food they buy, millions of Americans are still in the dark about a big detail – where their food is from.

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When shoppers go to the grocery store, they can pick up a package of ground beef that says, “Product of the U.S.A,” but it could be from cattle born, raised and slaughtered outside of the U.S. Families want to buy American-made products they know are safe. They want to support the American jobs that produce that food. And they should be able to do that.

While the new U.S. trade deal with Mexico and Canada (USMCA) makes important improvements to NAFTA, it fails to include the strong country of origin food labeling we need to empower consumers and support American workers. This would significantly improve American food safety and invest in good-paying American jobs. It is deeply concerning that this essential provision was left out of the trade deal.

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Americans deserve to know their food is safe, but loopholes currently allow many companies to keep consumers in the dark about where their food is from. Under current rules, companies don’t have to disclose the country of origin for a wide range of food products, including salad mixes with dressing packets, pre-cooked or marinated meat and poultry, and mixed fruits and vegetables.

With the U.S. importing more than $140 billion of food every year, strong country of origin labeling is essential as food safety standards can vary significantly from one country to the next. And with food recalls up 10 percent since 2013, there has never been a more important time to put American consumers first with stronger food safety and transparency.

Strong country of origin labeling on food will also strengthen our economy. Boosting sales for American-made food would give a big lift to our country’s farmers and ranchers who face record low incomes and bankruptcies. It would help rebuild America’s cattle herd and bring back thousands of good-paying beef sector jobs lost to recent droughts. And stronger food transparency would also support good middle class jobs throughout our country’s meat industry.

America has a long history of empowering consumers and supporting our country’s workers with this type of labeling. In 1930, Congress passed a law requiring that almost all imports needed to carry country of origin labels. In 2002, this was expanded to food products like beef, lamb and pork, as well as fish, peanuts and fresh fruits and vegetables.

However, food companies pressured Congress to weaken food transparency and the new food labeling requirement was repealed in 2015. With today’s weaker food safety standards, companies can freely move food products across borders, put pressure on prices and wages, and leave everyday Americans behind.

Americans strongly support fixing this by closing food safety loopholes, with 89 percent in favor of country of origin food labeling. Our country has an opportunity to put the power back in the hands of consumers by giving them the facts about their food.

As farmers, workers and consumers, we are calling on Congress to reinstate commonsense labeling requirements. Together, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), National Family Farm Coalition, and Family Farm Defenders have proudly worked for generations to provide families with the safe and affordable food they deserve.

Free markets are strongest when consumers are empowered with the information they need to make the best choices for their families. Our leaders need to stop catering to companies that are more focused on outsourcing jobs and boosting profits than the consumers they serve.

Congress must stand up for American families and workers and enact strong country of origin food labeling. This will strengthen our economy and ensure that all Americans have the facts about the food they feed their families.

Whether it is through an update to the USMCA trade deal or through new legislation, one thing is clear: Americans cannot wait any longer for this critical investment in food safety and the good-paying jobs our families need.

Taken From: https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/475808-americas-food-safety-takes-back-seat-in-new-trade-deal

NAFTA’s Empty Promises

In the early ’90s, champions of the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) promised farmers and workers a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Midwest farmers would export to prosperity. Manufacturing jobs would boom. Mexico’s middle class would grow and northern migration would slow. Now we are being told new fantastical tales that Congress must approve President Trump’s new NAFTA to aid our struggling farmers.

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Agribusiness and farm commodity groups are leading a well-funded lobbying blitz to gain congressional approval of the new NAFTA, officially known as the US-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA), before the holiday recess. Republican senators like Iowa’s Chuck Grassley and Jodi Ernst are parroting the urgent call that farmers need a win with the USMCA after trade disruptions with China and uncertain ethanol markets.

But what exactly is the win for farmers in the new USMCA? Nearly all tariffs for agriculture were removed under the original NAFTA. The International Trade Commission, which analyzes trade deals for Congress, projected that the USMCA would result in a slight net deficit for agriculture trade: meaning we would import slightly more than export. The small projected increase in agriculture exports – mostly dairy to Canada – would have no substantive effect on the ongoing, dramatic loss of small and mid-sized dairies in the Midwest.

Grading trade deals solely on the value of goods crossing the border has always obscured the real winners and losers. The original NAFTA, combined with the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the 1996 Farm Bill, led to the ramping up of agricultural production and an increase in agriculture exports. It also led to an almost immediate drop in commodity crop prices and farmer income. In fact, since the original NAFTA we’ve seen the steady consolidation of agribusiness firms and of farmland ownership, the loss of hundreds of thousands of small and mid-sized farms and independent ranches, and the rapid growth of large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) fueled by cheap (often below cost) feed. We now have a largely integrated North American agriculture market, where young cattle from Mexico and feeder pigs from Canada routinely cross borders to be finished here. For agriculture, NAFTA’s real winners were not countries, but global agribusiness firms like Cargill, JBS, Tyson and Smithfield that operate in all three countries.

Mexican and Canadian farmers have also borne the brunt of NAFTA. Researchers estimate that more than two million Mexicans, one-quarter of the farming population, left agriculture in the wake of NAFTA’s flood of imports. And over the last 30 years, Canada has lost one-third of its farm families.

Instead of slowing migration, the passage of NAFTA caused the number of Mexicans crossing the border looking for work to more than double in the 15 years following. Many former Mexican farmers ended up coming north, working in fruit and vegetable fields or meatpacking plants.

Nothing in the USMCA addresses the enormous human cost of the original agreement. It also repeats NAFTA’s favors to multinational corporations. In service to the big meatpackers, Trump’s trade negotiators ignored calls from farm groups to include mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef and pork. In a gift to drug companies, the USMCA locks in lengthy patents for prescription drugs and adds a 10-year monopoly period for many life-saving biologic medicines. And for the big oil and gas companies, special rights to protect efforts to exploit Mexico’s valuable oil fields – setting back efforts to address climate change.

Democratic presidential candidates have been too tentative to specify what an alternative re-negotiated NAFTA could look like. If grounded in improving the lives of people instead of the corporate bottom lines, a new NAFTA could support policies in all three countries to ensure fair prices for farmers, address non-competitive markets and require mandatory COOL; protect the rights of workers to collectively bargain and establish strong minimum wage levels; and set a high bar for health and environmental protections and climate action. We also badly need to reform trade negotiations from secret, behind-closed-doors negotiations where corporate advisors thrive, to greater openness and opportunities for citizens to have a say.

Sold on false promises, we’ve lived the first NAFTA for 25 years. There never was a pot of gold waiting for our farmers and rural communities. It’s time to drop the free trade fairy tales and set a new path that lifts up farmers, workers and our communities.

Taken From: https://www.iatp.org/blog/201912/naftas-empty-promises