How Congress might have already tied Obama’s hands in trade negotiations
Quoted in the post are:
James Bacchus, a former member of Congress who served as a judge at the World Trade Organization and now chairs Greenberg Traurig’s global trade practice.
Thomas Bollyky, a former negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative who’s now at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Stanford professor Judith Goldstein, who calls this emerging dynamic (foes of granting fast-track authority) a “Baptist-bootlegger coalition.”
Chris Wenk, the Chamber of Commerce’s point person on trade issues.
And just one opponent: Lori Wallach of Public Citizen. Even the caption "Obama needs leverage with the Europeans. Congress could help." is slanted in favor of granting fast track authority to get these trade deals done.
So here's Dean Baker:
Of course there is no reason the deals have to be complicated. If the trade deals focused on removing traditional trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas, there would not be "a zillion different interests and moving parts." There would be some formulaic wording written into the agreement that specified the rate at which these restrictions would be pared back.Note: The Wonkblog post was written by Lydia DePillis, not Ezra Klein. However, I wanted an excuse to put up this youtuber.
The reason there are a zillion moving parts is because the Obama administration went to the oil and gas industries to ask how they can use the trade agreement to get around environmental restrictions on drilling. It went to the food and agricultural industries to ask how they could get around food safety rules. It went to the pharmaceutical industry to ask it how it can use these deals to increase patent protections and jack up drug prices. It went to the entertainment industry and asked how it can use these deals to strengthen copyright enforcement and require Internet intermediaries to take responsibility (and incurr expenses) to help enforce copyrights.
NAFTA was begun by President G.H.W. Bush, and finished by Bill Clinton.
"First of all, because NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't support this agreement." - Bill Clinton, September 14, 1993
"In a few moments, I will sign the North American free trade act into law. NAFTA will tear clown trade barriers between our three nations. It will create the world's largest trade zone and create 200,000 jobs in this country by 1995 alone. The environmental and labor side agreements negotiated by our administration will make this agreement a force for social progress as well as economic growth. Already the confidence we've displayed by ratifying NAFTA has begun to bear fruit. We are now making real progress toward a worldwide trade agreement so significant that it could make the material gains of NAFTA for our country look small by comparison." - Bill Clinton, December 8, 1993
So what happened? "As of 2010, U.S. trade deficits with Mexico totaling $97.2 billion had displaced 682,900 U.S. jobs. Of those jobs, 116,400 are likely economy-wide job losses because they were displaced between 2007 and 2010, when the U.S. labor market was severely depressed." - Robert E. Scott, Economic Policy Institute, May 3, 2011
Similarly, it was G.W. Bush who began Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. And neither the results of NAFTA nor five years of high unemployment due to the financial meltdown have dissuaded our President Hope and Change from pursuing "NAFTA on steroids" one iota. Serving "our" multinational corporations by screwing the American worker has been bipartisan ever since 3rd Way corporatists captured the Democratic party.
Posted by ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© and cross-posted at my place.