As the United States and Canada resume talks again this week over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the same leftists who once opposed NAFTA in 1994 and not too long ago opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are no longer calling for U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA. Instead, a coalition of extreme left-wing activist organizations led by Global Trade Watch — the trade division for Public Citizen — are now advocating for strengthening NAFTA’s labor and environmental provisions. Rather than withdrawing from NAFTA, the Left now wants to use it as a vehicle for progressive change at the continental level.
As the trade division for Public Citizen, Global Trade Watch was founded by Lori Wallach and serves as a liberal watchdog group monitoring the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, TPP, and other “free trade” schemes. Despite Global Trade Watch's decades of criticizing NAFTA and other trade agreements, Wallach's group is encouraging its supporters to push for a progressive NAFTA “replacement.”
The caption for the meme includes a link to an online petition hosted by liberal consumer activist Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen, which is also the parent organization for Global Trade Watch.
The online petition features an article entitled “Act Now: Tell Congress a NAFTA Replacement Must End Job Outsourcing and Protect the Environment!”
The article contends “NAFTA’s [current] lack of labor or environmental standards means wages in Mexico are now below those in China.” Although the average hourly wage for manufacturing jobs in Mexico is actually slightly higher than that in China, it is still low, averaging $2.50 per hour.
And while Mexico does have relatively strict environmental laws, they are nowhere near as stringent as those in the United States. With such low wages and much less onerous and costly environmental regulations, it is no surprise American companies are drawn to Mexico, outsourcing their manufacturing operations south of the border.
Public Citizen/Global Trade Watch and their list of partnering organizations — among which include Daily Kos, Democracy for America, Progressive Caucus Action, and the Sierra Club — want NAFTA to mandate new higher environmental standards for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Similarly, President Barack Obama promoted the TPP to his liberal base as “the most progressive trade agreement in history,” according to the Obama-era White House. “It includes the strongest commitments on labor and the environment of any trade agreement in history, and those commitments are enforceable, unlike in past agreements,” President Obama said about the TPP in a press statement on October 5, 2015.
Obama pitched the TPP’s across-the-board high environmental standards as a positive for both American workers — who fear their jobs might be outsourced overseas to countries in the Pacific Rim that have lower environmental standards than the United States — and to environmentalists concerned about “climate change.”
However, when those on the Left such as Obama and Public Citizen/Global Trade Watch point out that American jobs have gone overseas or south to Mexico because of those countries’ lack of high environmental standards and regulations, they are in turn acknowledging the onerous and costly nature of those standards and regulations here in America.
Rather than trying to impose stringent labor and environmental standards in countries such as Mexico (as in the case of both NAFTA and the TPP, which the Mexican Senate ratified earlier this year) or in some of the other lesser-developed Pacific Rim countries in the TPP (such as Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam), the United States should reduce its own domestic regulations.
By reducing such regulations domestically, the United States would become more competitive with the rest of the world and allow American businesses to invest the money they are forced to spend on meeting such high environmental standards, in turn allowing them to either increase their workers' wages or create more jobs here in the United States.
Raising labor and environmental standards overseas and in Mexico will not stop the outsourcing of American jobs; rather, it would have an even greater adverse effect on those countries.
While large American multinational corporations can typically absorb the cost of government regulations, sometimes at the expense of employee wages, small and new startup businesses based in those foreign countries do not have that same luxury, as they lack the capital and access to investors that large American multinationals enjoy. Higher environmental and labor standards in Mexico and other developing countires would act as a barrier that their own domestic businesses might not be able to overcome, thus destroying businesses and jobs.
Agreements such as the TPP — now renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) — and the NAFTA replacement that leftists such as Lori Wallach and her allies seek, would stifle whatever semblance of a free market those developing nations have, in turn further contributing to their domestic poverty.
Instead of this job-killing and market-killing approach here and abroad, the United States should reduce and eliminate its unconstitutional, onerous, and costly environmental and labor regulations and also allow foreign countries to set and determine their own regulations.
Global Trade Watch’s criticism of NAFTA makes no mention of the big elephant in the room, which is how NAFTA tramples on American sovereignty. And by pushing for their progressive reforms to NAFTA, they are further strengthening its sovereignty-crushing aspects.
This is underscored by the fact that the ostensible impetus for their desired NAFTA replacement is to “put people and the planet” first. This alludes to the globalist concept of peope being “citizens of the world.”
The pressure from the globalist Deep State above and the so called “progressive” extreme left-wing organizations and agitators below is being applied to eventually eliminate sovereignty and the nation-state altogether, replacing it with a borderless, universal socialist, one-world government, often called by its proponents the “new world order.”
The true objective or purpose behind NAFTA was revealed by leading Deep State apparatchik and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who in an article he wrote for both the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post on July 20, 1993, described NAFTA as “the most creative step toward a new world order taken by any group of countries since the end of the Cold War.”
Kissinger further stated that NAFTA “is not a conventional trade agreement, but the architecture of a new international system.” In other words, the real objective of NAFTA is regional merger toward a continental supranational economic union akin to the European Union (e.g. the North American Union), followed by an eventual one-world government.
This idea of utilizing NAFTA to facilitate a merger of the United States, Canada, and Mexico is also evident by ongoing efforts for North American energy integration and by Global Trade Watch’s desire to use NAFTA as a vehicle for progressive change in North America.
The Left regards NAFTA as a potential platform for imposing even greater labor and environmental standards across the continent.
And if that isn’t concerning enough, Lori Wallach, whose Public Citizen group has previously described President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda as “toxic,” met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in May and June of 2017.
Singing Lighthizer’s praises, Wallach told the Daily Beast: “I’ve known Bob Lighthizer for a long time because there are not a lot of people who are trade experts and who know the substance of the agreements and the laws very well. I have closely followed his work. I’ve learned stuff from his perspective.”
Furthermore, Wallach’s goal of a more progressive NAFTA is shared by Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign affairs minister and chief NAFTA negotiator.
During a speech delivered at the University of Ottawa in August 2017, Freeland expressed her desire to make NAFTA more progressive by including new chapters to promote gender equality, a chapter addressing indigenous people, and chapters strengthening labor and environmental standards.
"Canadians broadly support free trade. But their enthusiasm wavers when trade agreements put our workers at an unfair disadvantage because of the high standards that we rightly demand,” Freeland said. “Instead, we must pursue progressive trade agreements that are win-win, helping workers both at home and abroad to enjoy higher wages and better conditions."
Last month, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that “more labour and environmental protections are expected” in a new NAFTA deal, however it was unclear “whether the tight negotiating timelines allow a gender chapter, as Canada's added to other agreements, or an Indigenous chapter,” according to CBC. On June 5, 2017, Canada and Chile announced the addition of a new chapter on trade and gender to their 20-year-old Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement.
With pressure from Freeland above and Wallach below, the contents of a new NAFTA deal don’t bode well for national sovereignty of the nations involved.
Unlike The John Birch Society, which opposes NAFTA, TPP/CPTPP, and other so-called free trade agreements based upon a principled stance to protect America’s national sovereignty, left-wing opposition to such trade agreements is merely a tactic to further advance their progressive and socialist agenda.
This is why Americanists and constitutionalists cannot rely on the Left’s supposed opposition to “free trade” agreements and why The John Birch Society does not enter into coalitions with such groups.
The John Birch Society opposes NAFTA in any form that maintains it as a trilateral agreement under the auspices of the World Trade Organization and that retains the structures for North American integration.
The Left only opposes NAFTA, TPP, and other anti-sovereignty schemes until they are made more progressive and socialistic with more onerous government controls and regulations under the guise of protecting workers’ rights, the environment, and gender-related issues.
The Left’s commitment to international interests over national interests was also recently observed in remarks made by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who told reporters that she wanted to keep the trade pact as a trilateral arrangement.
“I think it should be trilateral,” Pelosi said, adding that it would not be “in the interest of this hemisphere” to separate NAFTA into separate bilateral agreements.
In the name of freeing world trade, or in this case freeing North American trade, NAFTA’s true purpose is the establisment of a new world order. And for this reason alone, Congress should Get U.S. Out! of NAFTA, rather than renegotiating it, especially considering how the Left wants to use it further advance their socialist agenda.