Although the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) remains largely intact after Trump made the bold move to simply rename it, the new agreement does include several provisions that were also included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiated by the Obama administration.
Among those provisions is a rule that says members of the trade agreement can choose to unilaterally withdraw from it if the other members sign free trade deals with countries outside of the market; countries otherwise known as "non-market countries."
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross now says he wants to include a similar provision in all future trade deals to fight the growing economic influence of China.
Ross said in an interview that the provision was “another move to try to close loopholes” in trade deals that have served to “legitimize” China’s trade, intellectual property and industrial subsidy practices. [...]
Under the provision, if any of the three countries in the USMCA enters a trade deal with a “non-market country,” the other two are free to quit in six months and form their own bilateral trade deal.
“It’s logical, it’s a kind of a poison pill,” Ross said.
So, the Trump regime is clearly going to continue borrowing ideas from the Trans-Pacific Partnership which Trump unilaterally withdrew from just because it was negotiated by the black president, but that's not the only thing that makes this amusing.
The other countries included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership finalized and signed the deal without the United States earlier this year.
It's as if the Trump regime is trying to negotiate their way back into the TPP through the back door after withdrawing from it. They're copying and pasting TPP provisions into current deals and trying to sign new deals using the same language.
Trump says we've negotiated bad deals in the past and yet he seems to have no original ideas of his own. President Obama made it abundantly clear that signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership would contain the influence of China and yet here we are. China arguably has more influence today than it did under President Obama because of Trump's blustering.
A mountain of bad faith was deployed against the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2016 and I don't expect any of the loudest critics will acknowledge what's really happening here. We've heard nary a peep from the usual suspects about NAFTA even though Trump is close to enshrining it into law for another 16 years with almost no changes. Critics are stuck because acknowledging what Trump is really doing would mean acknowledging that President Obama got it right.