Excerpts, The Raw Story – ” The post-NAFTA era has been marked by growing inequality, declining job security and new leverage for corporations to attack government regulations enacted in the public interest.
But it wasn’t supposed to be that way. Back in 1986, when the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico began talks on a regional trade deal that eight years later would culminate in the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), they sold the pact to the public as an economic win-win for all parties involved.
On signing the treaty in 1994, then-President Bill Clinton said, “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.” He promised that NAFTA would result in “an export boom to Mexico,” and claimed that such trade deals “transcend ideology” because support for them “is so uniform that it unites people in both parties.”
Twenty years later, we can test how those claims panned out in the real world. And Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch did just that, releasing a comprehensive study of NAFTA’s impacts…
…Shortly after NAFTA, we did a very detailed dig to find all the promises of US producers who made very specific claims before the treaty was signed that ‘if NAFTA passes, we will add X number of jobs.’ So we went and looked at the federal government’s Trade Adjustment Assistance database and we found that company after company — big US manufacturers like Chrysler, GE, Caterpillar — that promised to create specific numbers of US jobs instead were offshoring thousands and thousands of US jobs to Mexico, and then they were bringing the product back into the country and selling it. It was still their US brand name, but made with much lower wages in Mexico.
The trade data are very telling. The year before NAFTA, the United States had a small trade deficit with Canada — about $20 billion dollars — and a slight surplus of $2 billion dollars with Mexico. Now, 20 years later, we have almost a $200 billion dollar trade deficit with those countries. So the surplus with Mexico turned into a huge, huge deficit, as all those companies relocated there to produce goods with lower wages.
And this Trade Adjustment Assistance database is really fascinating. There are 845,000 specific US workers who are certified under just this one narrow program as having lost their jobs since NAFTA to trade with Mexico and Canada. And you’d be surprised at the kinds of companies you see. In the beginning it was a huge wipeout of the auto sector, textiles and apparel, and appliances. But now it’s computers, it’s clean manufacturing of computer chips, high-end electronics, aircraft – these are high-end, high-tech, well-trained, well-paid jobs. The so-called jobs of the future are all being offshored.
Even if you didn’t lose a job, what we’ve found with this study, and, more importantly, what economists, including those who supported NAFTA originally, found is that shifting a million well-paying jobs out has an effect economy-wide on wage levels and on income inequality.” Full Article on The Raw Story
Related Content & Links
The Council of Canadians – “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is 12-nation (and counting) free trade and corporate rights deal that is being led by the United States but also includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Thailand, The Philippines and South Korea have also expressed interest in joining the talks, which would eclipse the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the ways democracy would be constrained in the interests of multinational corporations.
Of the 26 chapters currently being negotiated in the TPP, only two have to do with trade. The other 24 deal with issues as diverse as how a government regulates corporate activity, what Crown corporations can and cannot do, how long pharmaceutical patents or copyright terms should be, how the Internet is governed, the sharing of personal information across borders, banking and taxation rules, and when a company or investor should be compensated when environmental or public health policies interfere with profits.
The TPP is also considered a geopolitical weapon of the U.S. government, which is trying to isolate China in the Asia-Pacific region, and to block alternative, and more successful, forms of development than the “free trade” model has to offer. But the TPP is being resisted by people across all participating countries because of how it will lock-in a myopic type of corporate globalization that is the main cause of runaway climate change and which has done little to create good, sustainable jobs or reduce poverty worldwide. People working across borders fought and defeated the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Our goal is to make sure the TPP suffers the same fate.”
While I was searching for more information on the TPP and work that is being done at our local Santa Teresa point of entry, I came across this interesting pdf from the White House…
“A renewed focus by the United States and Mexico on economic cooperation and efforts by Congress to facilitate legitimate trade and tourism with Mexico offer a number of opportunities. The proposed Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 proposes the addition of 3,500 additional Customs and Border Protection officers to staff the ports of entry to be funded by a newly created Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund. In addition, S. 178 and H.R. 1108, the Cross Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2013, aim to facilitate enhanced staffing but also infrastructure improvements at ports of entry via alternative financing mechanisms such as public-private partnerships. Legislation such as this is necessary in order for the United States to take full advantage of NAFTA’s potential as well as the next generation of trade agreements, including the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which have the potential to significantly enhance North American competitiveness for decades to come.” Full Report Available Here
More information on the planning/development and work along the US-MX border can also be found here -