Monday, May 22, 2017

Trump Admin. begins NAFTA campaign

Trump's NAFTA Plans Fail to Protect Workers and the Environment

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Oakland, CA — Now that President Trump has formally issued notice to Congress of his intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the California Trade Justice Coalition is urging his administration to commit to an open, public process, remove job-killing special investor provisions, and include enforceable labor and environmental standards.

Today’s notification from the Trump administration does not offer any concrete plans for NAFTA renegotiation. However, in late March, a leaked outline of his NAFTA plans read like a wishlist from Wall Street  and even revived parts of the defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) like expanded rights for pharmaceutical firms to block generic competition and keep drug prices high and more investor incentives to offshore jobs that working families depend on.

“The promise of NAFTA being a job creator was hollow,” said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski. “Thousands of California workers watched helplessly as this flawed trade agreement led to the outsourcing of middle-class jobs. While renegotiating NAFTA is a start, the Trump Administration must fulfill its promise to working people to create an agreement that prioritizes good jobs over corporate greed. We’ll be watching closely to ensure that the voices of working people are heard throughout this process.”

During his campaign for president, Trump promised to make NAFTA “much better” for working people. And yet, the 500 corporate trade advisors that got us into the TPP have been consulted on NAFTA renegotiations, while the few labor advisors were shut out of a key advisory meeting last month. “So far, the administration’s trade policies have been mostly backroom affairs, putting corporations and special interests in the driver’s seat at the expense of the public interest,” said Nancy Price, Co-Chair, Alliance for Democracy.

As written, NAFTA is also packed with offshoring incentives and protections for the corporations that shaped it. Although the president is quick to point out that NAFTA has encouraged the offshoring of U.S. jobs to Mexico, he rarely mentions the vast difference in wages and working conditions between the two countries or the special privileges granted to corporations to pit workers against one another. “Despite promises to stop unfair trade deals, Trump’s leaked plans keep in place NAFTA’s private courts, allowing global corporations to sue U.S. taxpayers over our democratic laws protecting food safety and the environment,” said Doug Norlen, Economic Policy Program Director of Friends of the Earth.

“The real test of whether NAFTA negotiations will benefit working Americans is if Trump makes it clear from day one that he will eliminate the trade pact’s special investor protections for corporations that make it easier to offshore California jobs and empower corporations to attack public interest laws in all three countries,” said Aaron Lehmer-Chang, Director of the California Trade Justice Coalition. “Otherwise, the president’s stated commitment to workers, consumers, and the environment will remain highly suspect throughout the talks.”

To provide broad benefits to North Americans, a new NAFTA will need to prioritize strategies that improve the lives of workers, consumers, farmers, trade-impacted communities, and the environment. The California Trade Justice Coalition’s national affiliate, the Citizens Trade Campaign, has released a set of policies on its website designed to uplift working families.
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Further Resources:

Here are some additional links to NAFTA releases from some of our members and allies:

More About California Trade Justice News & Alerts
California Trade Justice News is a quarterly publication of the California Trade Justice Coalition (CTJC), a project of Earth Island Institute, and proud affiliate of the Citizens Trade Campaign. The CTJC is a new coalition of labor, environmental, family farm, public health, immigrant rights, human rights, pro-democracy, and socially conscious business leaders — all committed to building a strong California economy that works for all.
PUBLISHER: Aaron Lehmer-Chang, ED
CONTRIBUTORS: Will Wiltschko, Lead Organizer, Jake Soiffer, Social Media & Communications Intern
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California Trade Justice Coalition
436 14th Street, Suite 1216
Oakland, CA  94612

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