News Release

NAFTA at 20: “Record of Damage” to Widen with “NAFTA-on-Steroids” TPP

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The North American Free Trade Agreement took effect on Jan. 1, 1994.

LORI WALLACH, via Joseph Williams, jwilliams at citizen.org, @pcgtw
Wallach is director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, which just released the report “NAFTA at 20″ [PDF]. Wallach said today: “NAFTA’s actual outcomes prove how damaging this type of agreement is for most people, that it should be renegotiated and why we cannot have any more such deals that include job-offshoring incentives, requirements that we import food that doesn’t meet our safety standards or new rights for firms to get taxpayer compensation before foreign tribunals over laws they don’t like. Given NAFTA’s record of damage, it is equal parts disgusting and infuriating that now President Barack Obama has joined the corporate Pinocchios who lied about NAFTA in recycling similar claims to try to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is NAFTA-on-steroids.”

Public Citizen states: “The study tracks the promises made by U.S. corporations like Chrysler and Caterpillar to create specific numbers of American jobs if NAFTA was approved, and reveals government data showing that instead, they fired U.S. workers and moved operations to Mexico. The data also show how post-NAFTA trade and investment trends have contributed to middle-class pay cuts, which in turn contributed to growing income inequality; how since NAFTA, U.S. trade deficit growth with Mexico and Canada has been 45 percent higher than with countries not party to a U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and how U.S. manufacturing and services exports to Canada and Mexico have grown at less than half the pre-NAFTA rate. …

“Public opinion has shifted dramatically, from a narrow divide during the 1993 NAFTA debate to overwhelming opposition today. A 2012 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that 53 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should ‘do whatever is necessary’ to ‘renegotiate’ or ‘leave’ NAFTA, while only 15 percent believe the U.S. should ‘continue to be a member of NAFTA.’ That opposition cuts across party lines, class divisions and education levels, perhaps explaining growing controversy over the proposed deepening and expansion of the NAFTA model through the TPP. …

“The export of subsidized U.S. corn did increase under NAFTA, destroying the livelihoods of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and about 1.4 million additional Mexican workers whose livelihoods depended on agriculture. The desperate migration of those displaced from Mexico’s rural economy pushed down wages in Mexico’s border maquiladora factory zone and contributed to a doubling of Mexican immigration to the U.S. following NAFTA’s implementation.”