North American Leaders Meeting Today to Discuss Job-Killing Trade AgreementPosted: February 20, 2014
North American Leaders Meeting Today to Discuss Job-Killing Trade Agreement
by JBS President John F. McManus
President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Harper, and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto met in Toluca, Mexico, on February 20. The most they could agree upon was the need to protect Monarch butterflies whose winter habitat happens to be losing its milkweed food source. But each of the three “amigos” (they enjoy using the term) wants to sink the three countries into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement involving twelve Pacific-rim nations – all the way from North America to Chile, Australia, Japan, and elsewhere.
Hoping to build on the 20-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the three leaders continued to claim that NAFTA was a huge success. Mr. Obama could have pointed instead to the loss of thousands of jobs, the creation of legal tribunals whose decisions trump U.S. law, even a more widely open border for illegal immigrants to stream into the U.S. But these consequences of NAFTA were never mentioned. One can only conclude that similar results will impact America if the TPP negotiations are completed and approved by Congress.
Right now, President Obama is seeking “fast track authority” that allows him to bypass congressional intervention on the way to an up or down TPP vote by Congress with no amendments. He told reporters at the meeting in Mexico, “We’ll get this passed if it’s a good agreement,” and he has already indicated that, for him, it is good. If Congress concurs, they will have ceded more of their constitutional authority to the ever-growing power of the Executive Branch.
Asked by his fellow amigos about progress toward enactment of TPP, Obama acknowledged twin difficulties, first with gaining fast-track authority and then with hammering out details that include immigration legislation, labor rules, and environmental regulations. He thereby confirmed that this newly desired trade pact deals with far more than just trade.
Customarily reliable congressional Democrats including Senate leader Harry Reid have expressed reluctance to approve the president’s fast-track request. But trusting Harry Reid to do what’s right for America is a risky proposition. Other members of Congress are voicing objections to the pact because of the results of NAFTA. They seem likely to turn thumbs down not only on TPP but also on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union scheduled for consideration in 2015.
America doesn’t need more “free trade” agreements that are never free and have lots more than trade in their hundreds of pages. Members of Congress can stop plans to plunge our country into such pacts and thereby avoid more job losses, more dilution of sovereignty, and more unneeded illegal immigration. History shows that supposed “free trade” agreements means economic union. And economic union is regularly followed by political union – as the 28 nations now caught in the European Union have discovered. They were told that they were joining a mere trade group that would enhance commerce. But they have discovered that they no longer control their own destiny.
Congress can stop these entanglements. It’s an election year when members listen more intently to constituents. Stopping TPP and TTIP should be the goal.
Learn more about how you can help by visiting Choose Freedom–Stop the Free Trade Agenda.