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Is Democrats' USMCA Trade Deal With Trump a Big Win or 'Major Strategic Misstep?'

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/12/democrats-usmca-trade-deal-trump-big-win-or-major-strategic-misstep


Great report Jake. Thanks for pulling that together. It’s why we need CD. As for the substance, anyone who thinks this will lead to strong unions in Mexico needs to have their head examined. Re Trumka, well, there needs to be a “political revolution” in the AFL too and labor movement in general, along with the Democratic Party and the country as a whole, as Bernie says.


The new NAFTA is 90% the old NAFTA.
The Dems traded family leave (which is good) for more Space Force funding (which is bad).
The entire process was a dog and pony show. Now it’s a bi-partisan dog and pony show. Yippee.


It’s the Duopoly in action.


Re: “F’in’ Space Force”

Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Sifters, Shifters, Song Chasers
Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
Media Disc-US-sion List


Yes - as a pro-labor person, labor needs to stop colluding with class based domination of workers by undemocratic governance that is elitist, anti-labor, anti-living wage, and anti-equality. Union leaders seem to lack the progressive vision ( too much money?) to wrestle control of enterprise from wealthy, minority elites and corporations, and put it firmly in the hands of the working people. Let’s give that a try - then talk to me about progress. Domination of the many by the few will always remain a failure. Better or worse is still failing.


I’ve not read the thing. With Pelosi and Trump both enthused, I’ve no doubt it’s bad for people and the environment but great for money and corporate interests.


With 'Democrats" like these, Who needs enemas, or Republicans.

Our Government is terminally corrupt. We aren’t going to fix this by voting - they won’t allow that


Real unkindness runs through my mind as I watch Pelosi here making an ASS of herself –

The pictures are delivering a message that Trump isn’t that bad –

Completely the reverse of what allegedly Pelosi set out to do in Impeaching Trump –

Or was she forced into moving to Impeachment proceedings by the liberals in the party, but
then severely limited it to save Trump from himself?

Meanwhile, the Trade Deal looks good for business – for workers/labor questionable …

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a left-leaning think tank aligned with labor interests, offered a slightly less positive assessment but ultimately concluded the deal is "better than the alternatives."

In a blog post Tuesday, EPI’s Thea Lee and Robert Scott predicted the agreement—which has not yet been released in full—"will in no way offset or reverse the massive devastation caused by the original NAFTA."

"Despite these concerns, the USMCA may yield benefits for workers in a few industries, such as glass and steel. And it may result in significant improvements in labor rights for Mexican workers," Lee and Scott wrote. “At the end of the day, the USMCA is the best of a set of bad choices.”

Green groups, meanwhile were even less impressed with the USMCA, which must be approved by Congress before it can be signed by Trump.

"The USMCA is nothing more than a NAFTA 2.0 and it spells disaster for food safety, air and water quality, and climate change in America," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Action, said in a statement Wednesday. "USMCA is not a trade deal, it is an attack on public health and the climate. Congress must reject USMCA or we’ll be looking at a future of irreversible environmental disaster and unsafe food, water, and air… with no end in sight."

"If you are calling a president illegitimate and corrupt, you can’t then give him the big wins that he will need when he goes into key states. He gets to brag about his victories."
—Rebecca Katz, progressive strategist

Dan West, a senior advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council, echoed Hauter’s assessment and said any passable trade agreement must include strong climate protections.

“While the details are still secret,” West said, "all indications are that the revised NAFTA pact fails this key climate test, and we will be forced to oppose it."

According to Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, while labor unions and consumer advocates won serious improvements in the deal that should not be understated, nobody should walk away thinking that Trump or the Democrats have achieved anything close to a progressive trade agreement with the USMCA.

In a detailed statement, Wallach said:
The best feature of the new NAFTA is the gutting of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). Using this regime, corporations have extracted almost $400 million from North American taxpayers after attacks on environmental and health policies before tribunals of three corporate lawyers. That a U.S. pact largely eliminates extreme ISDS protections for foreign investors and anti-democratic tribunals sends a signal worldwide about the illegitimacy of the ISDS regime.

On the other hand, Wallach continued, “Trump’s claim that this new NAFTA will bring back hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs is absurd.”

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A sane trade policy would involve a minimum tariff (maybe 15%) on ALL manufactured goods, no matter country of origin and with all tariff revenue divided up and paid out equally to all adult citizens once a year…and encouraging countries that trade with us to do the same.

a) They need to be on ALL manufactured goods. For example, just putting them on, say steel (a manufactured good) would hurt the nail and screw manufacturer if the tariff is not on imported nails and screws also.
b) They need to be applied uniformly no matter country of origin. If only on goods from, say China, then those goods manufactured in China will find their way into the U.S. market via other countries…or the same good will find its way here from manufacturers switching production from China to, say, Vietnam or Mexico.
c) They need to be implemented on a permanent basis (or at least a perceived permanent basis). No company (U.S. or foreign chartered) is going to spend the money to move production here (or back here) and build a factory to sell in the U.S. market and thus avoid the tariff if they think the tariff could be lifted at any moment.
d) Ideally, all tariff revenue should be divided up and paid out equally to all adult citizens once per year to mitigate the higher price problem (higher prices for continued imports and higher prices for the new American made goods replacing the drop in imports).

We have to Primary all these Useless Corporate Democrats and replace them with Representatives that will actually Represent We The People instead of the Corporations that Legally Bribe them.