Do not let Trump fool Democrats and labor into supporting NAFTA 2.0 or his China trade deal.

On December 116, 2019, The American Prospect ( posted this article by Robert Kuttner that explains a problem with Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 and the Democratic Party’s leadership in Congress.

I could not find the article on their website, so I copied and pasted it here:

DECEMBER 16, 2019
Kuttner on TAP

How Trump Became a Fake Champion of Mexican Labor Rights (Of All Things). The NAFTA deal has hit a last-minute snag because one key provision in the House bill negotiated between the Democrats and Trump trade officials was not cleared with the Mexicans. This is the all-important provision giving U.S. inspectors the right to verify ( whether Mexico is carrying out its commitment to allow free trade unionism.

Jesús Seade, Mexico’s chief trade negotiator on NAFTA, objected that this measure was news to him, and violated Mexico’s sovereignty. Mexico’s Senate had approved the new agreement without the latest add-on language. They also didn’t bother to read the U.S. implementing bill before storming through to pass their version, determined to hit a deadline rather than carefully review the terms. Reading is fundamental.

The likelihood is that some gimmick will be found to paper over this hitch. (Unenforceable side agreements are what got us into the NAFTA morass in the first place.) Mexico needs this deal, and so does President Trump. Ironically, Trump, normally found demonizing all things Mexican, has emerged as an unlikely ally of Mexico’s left-wing president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is personally committed to free trade unionism.

Trump’s NAFTA stance creates the illusion that he supports unions. Some even imagine that since NAFTA is nominally reciprocal, Mexico or Canada working with the U.S. labor movement could lodge complaints against union-busting in the U.S.

Don’t hold your breath. The add-on bill singles out Mexico for enforcement. No inspectors from Canada or Mexico can monitor practices in the U.S., though in principle complaints are allowed.

But Trump’s is the most anti-union Labor Department on record. His labor secretaries have systematically dismantled the Obama administration’s efforts to restore labor rights.

When it comes to trade unionism, the new NAFTA is mostly about optics and election-year posturing. If we want labor rights, that will take a new administration. ~ ROBERT KUTTNER

Follow Robert Kuttner on Twitter
Robert Kuttner’s new book is The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy.


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Since the late 1960s Glen Anderson has devoted his life to working as a volunteer for peace, nonviolence, social justice, and progressive political issues. He has worked through many existing organizations and started several. Over the years he has worked especially for such wide-ranging goals as making peace with Vietnam, eliminating nuclear weapons, converting from a military economy to a peacetime economy, abolishing the death penalty, promoting nonviolence at all levels throughout society, and helping people organize and strategize for grassroots movements to solve many kinds of problems. He writes, speaks, and conducts training workshops on a wide variety of topics. Since 1987 he has produced and hosted a one-hour cable TV interview program on many kinds of issues. Since 2017 he has blogged at He lives in Lacey near Olympia WA. You can reach him at (360) 491-9093