Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NAFTA turns 20 after killing 682,900 jobs

The TPP would be worse than NAFTA. Really.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of NAFTA, the first bilateral corporate power grab disguised as a trade deal.

NAFTA, which was supposed to create 200,000 jobs in two years, actually killed 682,900 U.S. jobs in 20 years, according to our friend Rob Scott at the Economic Policy Institute.

NAFTA paved the way for CAFTA, the WTO, PNTR and KORUS FTA, none of which have done what their supporters promised they would do: Create good American jobs. Instead, these treaties have destroyed American manufacturing, widened the U.S. trade deficit, damaged the middle class, eliminated jobs, empowered corporations and weakened the power of the people.

Writes Scott:
...things didn’t work out as Clinton promised. NAFTA led to a flood of outsourcing and foreign direct investment in Mexico. U.S. imports from Mexico grew much more rapidly than exports, leading to growing trade deficits, as shown in the Figure. Jobs making cars, electronics, and apparel and other goods moved to Mexico, and job losses piled up in the United States, especially in the Midwest where those products used to be made. By 2010, trade deficits with Mexico had eliminated 682,900 good U.S. jobs, most (60.8 percent) in manufacturing. 
Claims by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that NAFTA “trade” has created millions of jobs are based on disingenuous accounting, which counts only jobs gained by exports but ignores jobs lost due to growing imports. The U.S. economy has grown in the past 20 years despite NAFTA, not because of it. Worse yet, production workers’ wages have suffered in the United States. Likewise, workers in Mexico have not seen wage growth. Job losses and wage stagnation are NAFTA’s real legacy. 
Few disagree that NAFTA and subsequent corporate-empowerment deals destroyed millions of good U.S. jobs and lowered our standard of living. It is incredible that two more such deals -- TPP and TAFTA -- are even being considered. But those proposals are a feature, not a bug, of the tremendous power that multinational corporations amassed as a result of NAFTA.