08/17/2017 / By JD Heyes
And in other news not related to the attacks on President Donald J. Trump by a disgusting establishment press and no shortage of political cowards on both sides of the aisle over his correct assessment that “both sides” in the Charlottesville violence were at fault, the White House is pushing ahead with Trump’s campaign pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, amidst the manufactured furor in D.C., the Trump administration marked the first-ever renegotiation of NAFTA, an agreement that won congressional approval in 1994 after being devised, then pushed, by President Bill Clinton.
The site reported:
U.S. Trade Representative Amb. Robert Lighthizer opened the “historic day” hoping to advance Trump’s trade agenda, which he said would involve protecting American manufacturing interests, a sector that declined sharply as automation and outsourcing took hold following NAFTA’s 1994 implementation. He acknowledged that many workers and farmers have benefitted from the agreement, but said the agreement’s harm has been evident for years. The U.S. government estimates that 700,000 Americans have lost their jobs specifically because of NAFTA, according to Lighthizer.
“For countless Americans, this agreement has failed,” President Trump said in a statement. “We cannot ignore the huge trade deficits, the lost manufacturing jobs, the businesses that have closed or moved because of incentives — intended or not — in the current agreement.”
In July, the White House released its goals for the renegotiation effort. The Trade Representative is to focus on currency manipulation, and noted that the office will seek to “eliminate unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state owned enterprises, and burdensome restrictions on intellectual property.”
The U.S., Canada and Mexico are signatories to NAFTA.
The administration says that the subsidies and other barriers have led to the United States’ $64 billion trade deficit with Mexico, as opposed to a $1.3 billion surplus that existed before NAFTA was put in place.
During the campaign, Trump’s pledge to redo the “bad” NAFTA deal won wide praise and support from blue-collar workers in several states that voted in support of Democratic presidential candidates for decades. In addition, the Free Beacon noted, there is bipartisan support for his opposition to other free trade deals in the nation’s capital.
Trump regularly bashed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her past support for NAFTA and the Obama administration-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreements.
Trump pulled the U.S. out of TPP via executive order on Jan. 23, just a few days after he was inaugurated. And in early April, he signed a pair of executive orders aimed at improving U.S. trade deals by cracking down on trade abuses and identifying of the causes of America’s massive trade deficits. (Related: Touting ‘American first,’ Trump wants changes to NAFTA in effort to cut trade deficits.)
His opposition to many existing trade deals likely led to Trump’s election victories in the blue-collar states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which helped him garner 306 electoral votes — 36 more than the 270 necessary to win.
Indeed, Trump’s pledge to pull the U.S. out of the TPP agreement and renegotiate NAFTA even won him some grudging support from Left-wing labor unions that have long supported Democratic candidates (even those who have been negotiating away their jobs via bad trade agreements).
“The administration can choose to use this opportunity to benefit working families, or it can further rig the rules to favor corporations and CEOs,” said AFL-CIO union chief, Richard Trumka, after resigning from the president’s White House Manufacturing Council over the Charlottesville violence. “We are setting the bar high. We will only accept a deal that is renegotiated the right way,” he added, which is odd given that he also said NAFTA “has flat-out failed working people” for “decades.”
Some labor organizations held demonstrations Wednesday calling for full repeal of NAFTA — without first waiting to even see what Trump’s renegotiation looks like.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.