Alongside TPP And TAFTA/TTIP, US Now Thinking Of NAFTA 2.0

from the living-agreement dept

Last year, we noted that despite repeated promises to the contrary, both the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) have turned out disastrously for the US. Unperturbed by this minor detail, the US government is already starting to prepare the ground for NAFTA 2.0, as reports:

Twenty years after free trade began remapping the North American economy, the U.S. insists it is open to a sequel aimed at improving job prospects across the continent.

Given the sweeping nature of NAFTA, that raises the question: what would be in such an agreement? Here’s a hint, in the words of a senior US official:

What’s the second act? The other part of the challenge is . . . sound bytes. You’ve got to figure out a way to make people understand what we’re trying to do. So when we’re talking about trying to improve regulatory co-operation, that’s great. Now tell me what that actually means?

In fact, we have a pretty good idea thanks to TAFTA/TTIP. According to the European Commission’s own predictions (pdf), four-fifths of the (wildly-optimistic) GDP boost that is supposed to flow from an “ambitious” transatlantic agreement comes from removing “non-tariff barriers” through just this kind of “regulatory co-operation.” What that means is actually deregulation: removing “barriers” like health, safety, environmental and financial regulations that all get in the way of boosting corporate profits.

We even know how that strategy could be implemented. Last month, Corporate European Observatory published a leaked European Commission position paper (pdf) that spells out how TAFTA/TTIP would be turned into a “living agreement” through the creation of a “Regulatory Council”, which would have wide-ranging powers to shape the regulatory environment on a continuing basis. Expect something similar from NAFTA 2.0.

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Comments on “Alongside TPP And TAFTA/TTIP, US Now Thinking Of NAFTA 2.0”

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Ninja (profile) says:

we noted that despite repeated promises to the contrary, both the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) have turned out disastrously for the US

Somebody or somebodies got a lot of money in the process. We came to learn that morons like that couldn’t care less about sinking the entire planet in recession as long as their pockets are full (see 2007 subprime crisis, Goldman Sachs and etc – Inside Job is a highly recommended documentary for those who haven’t seen it yet).

So, yeah. If Those treaties were good they wouldn’t be discussed in secret.

Guardian says:

meta data is created by me its my intellectual property

someone needs to fund someone to goto court and test that meta data that won’t existuntil i do an action thus create it ….is actually my intllectual property and is unique ot me….thus we can sue over its abuse and use without expressed written permission and financial compensation…


if meta data can fall under copyright law and cause they get paid to collect it its commercial copyright infringement and carries a 20000 penalty per incident PER INCIDENT…..

this is why i said to let them have all there laws….sooner or later they will bite them right back and make us all wealthy

Anonymous Coward says:

We wouldn’t need to be extending unemployment benefits if NAFTA v1.0 was the economic success it’s backer claim it is. No about of “sound bytes”, is going to change the cold hard facts we’ve accumulated, through over a decade of NAFTA v1.0 economic and jobless failures.

The simple fact of the matter is, NAFTA and all these other “free trade” agreements, simply mean lower wages and living conditions for the vast majority of Americans.

The facts speak for themselves. We don’t need “sound bytes”, arguing against the facts.

anon says:


Consensus in Canada is NAFTA was a bonus for the USA, not a disaster. It’s a win-win situation, we dropped a lot of annoying tariffs and stuff is cheaper up here. We have guaranteed sales access into the USA, and they have a reciprocal right here.

Where it fails is in situations like the Canadian Softwood Lumber dispute, where the USA simply decided to ignore all NAFTA and GATT trade rulings (800-lb gorilla, anyone?) and still block and tax softwood lumber. Or the current meat-labelling dispute, which means meat suppliers have to track and label all meat as to country of origin – effectively making it difficult to market cattle to US slaughterhouses since it would require them to separate and label any cattle products from Canada.

Where NAFTA fails is where the USA fails to keep their promises. No doubt this is the pattern for all their trade agreements – a country’s word means nothing when compared to a congressman’s need to appease local voter lobbies.

If the Canadians agree to more without redressing these issues, then our politicians are stupider and more cynical than yours.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Huh?

I’d argue these “free trade” deals fail, because of all the protectionism measures shoved into them. Allowing corporate welfare, to be enshrined as international law.

Protection measures such as copyrights, patents, and off-shoring of corporate assets into shell companies, to avoid paying their already ridiculously low tax rates.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Huh?

The problem is that NAFTA was an absolute disaster for the USA. When it was getting passed, the stated goals of the US were to reduce the trade deficit with Canada, to increase the trade surplus with Mexico, to create around 170,000 jobs a year, and to lower the price of goods.

At least in the US, NAFTA didn’t create those jobs. Between decisions to move production out of the country, and increased competition from other countries, most of those jobs were lost. As a trivial example, General Electric lobbied for the passage of NAFTA, saying it could create up to 10,000 new jobs. Since NAFTA was signed, GE has laid off roughly 5,000 people. Most of the workers who are still employed have had their wages lowered.

As far as the trade surplus and deficits go: in 1993 our trade surplus with Mexico was $1.6 billion. In 2013 we have a deficit with Mexico of $50.1 billion. In 1993 our trade deficit with Canada was $10.8 billion. In 2013 our trade deficit with Canada was $28.3 billion. So, that’s a $69.2 billion increase in US trade deficit since NAFTA was signed — the prices aren’t adjusted for inflation because I just pulled them from the raw census data, but you get the idea.

Granted, not all of this is NAFTA’s fault — since it was passed, we’ve had two major market bubbles and crashes, huge shifts in technology, and a whole bunch of political idiocy. I think it’s fair to say, though, that everything the US promised its citizens about NAFTA has not come to pass.

Androgynous Cowherd says:


Even leaving aside the nasty side effects of deregulation, and assuming it succeeded at boosting corporate profits, it still would fail at its stated purpose of job creation. Boosting corporate profits by supply-side policies is a proven failure at causing job creation. Trickle-down does not work. Only increasing demand creates jobs, and the way to increase demand is to increase the spending money available to everyone below a middle-middle-class income level (marginal spending per dollar of additional income only starts to drop significantly when you get into the upper middle class).

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