Trade

Trump’s Fake NAFTA Replacement Moves Forward, Markets Shrug

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Although House Democrats and the White House have reached a preliminary agreement on the so-called United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is actually down as of this writing.

In announcing the deal, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called it a "victory for America’s workers."

In a news conference Tuesday, Democrats highlighted the provisions they pushed to include in the revised USMCA. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the new agreement is “a victory for America’s workers” and “infinitely better” than what the administration originally proposed. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., who led his party’s talks with the Trump administration, called it a “triumph” for organized labor and “workers everywhere across America.”

Pelosi is not necessarily wrong, but markets aren't lighting their hair on fire this morning because this deal really does not matter much at all. And, moreover, it's not actually a law yet. The House and Senate still have to formally vote to approve it.

As we've discussed before, and as Republicans themselves have admitted, the USMCA is nearly identical to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and will have not be noticeable to the vast majority of Americans.

If we're being honest, House Democrats are passing this deal for purely political reasons, not because it will actually make a significant economic difference. And that's fine. As I've said before, they can pass the deal or not pass the deal and it really won't matter. I'm sure Nancy Pelosi understands the political implications better than I do.

With all of that said, I'd like to know where the longtime critics of NAFTA and those who say NAFTA is the source of all our problems fall on this deal. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka appears to be pleased with it and I find that very suspect given that it probably won't even be measurable in economic reports beyond what NAFTA already generates. The deal as does not include anything that will substantially alter the structure of our economy or the labor landscape.

Nearly all of the Democratic candidates for president have demanded changes to the USMCA and it remains to be seen which candidates will approve of Pelosi's deal and which will bury their head in the sand and demand things that will never happen even if they become president.

I will speak out against Democrats who behave just like Trump on trade. We don't need to replace stupid with more stupid.

  • muselet

    Nancy Pelosi needed to push the deal on USMCA to prove the House Ds can legislate and impeach at the same time, contrary to the blather coming from Donald Trump and the expected Righty sources. That doesn’t make NAFTA 1.1 good policy—it’s kind of irrelevant—but does make it good politics.

    Not that it will be reported as such. “Democrats in Disarray!” is just too tempting a headline for theliberalmedia! to pass up.

    –alopecia