What should Trump do about NAFTA?
(North American Free Trade Agreement)
The debate over trade agreements is a much bigger issue than one might imagine. Since WWII and the institution of the United Nations world leaders have agreed to “progress” in the direction of globalization (an effort to create an integrated, global marketplace). What started off long long ago as trade among travelers, explorers and merchants engaging in trade of their specialized goods and services in mutually beneficial exchanges has morphed into a highly regulated international bureaucracy, growing in scope and power, tasking itself, among other things, with facilitating “free trade” among nations. One of the ways in which the international bureaucracy seeks to create a harmonious economic global marketplace is by regionalizing territories (such as we have seen in the European Union where economic integration has occurred via policies of open borders, common currency, membership fees, international tribunal and official bureaucratic headquarters in Brussels) . NAFTA serves as an attempt at regional economic unification in North America.
Generally speaking, support for trade among nations is universal. Trade is one of if not the best mechanism for uniting the human race through mutually beneficial, commercial exchanges. However, complexities arise when exchanges are attempted between parties of free market systems and authoritarian regimes. Large corporations seeking to expand opportunities for growth on a global scale quickly run into problems with authoritarian regimes abusing private property rights and labor. Therefore, large corporations seek protection and support the implementation of supranational tribunals who are empowered to sue other corporations as well as governments to resolve conflict. What was once exchange between two parties has grown to include governmental intervention. Once governments are involved, massive regulation is bound to follow hence freedom and property (property includes individual earnings and usurpation of those earnings via taxation) of average citizens is at risk. To complicate matters even further these “international trade agreements” (such as NAFTA, TPP and TTIP) aren’t limited to matters of trade and property but leech into other matters of human rights and environmental issues. This is precisely why our “free trade agreements” are 1500 pages in length. To provide for legal protection, corporations support the institution of international law to arbitrate in cases of discriminatory practices or diminished integrity of property or investment. This is the role of the Investor State Dispute Settlement System (ISDS). But other bureaucracies emerge as well such as the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation whose mission is to receive and adjudicate reports of alleged environmental violations by any of the three participants in NAFTA. As each massive trade agreement is conceived, along with it comes massive regulation in turn giving rise to administrative bureaucracies charged with oversight and enforcement.
While one might agree that corporations need protection or that environmental laws are necessary, one must also consider the effects of international bureaucracies on sovereignty (both national and individual). The farther away law making power resides from the people, the less control individuals have over their freedom. When governments may sue each other and be adjudicated by supranational tribunals, the outcomes have great potential to usurp power from elected officials, undermine national policy, create regulation to be imposed on the people and, worst of all, render the people financially responsible for predicaments which had nothing whatsoever to do with them. Democratically determined decisions can be overturned or fines in the hundreds of millions of dollars can be levied by international lawsuits. This is erosion of national sovereignty.
If the American people hope to maintain any semblance of autonomy, they must become educated on these international agreements and be aware of what is being traded. How much of a re-negotiated NAFTA is about trade and how much is about regional regulation and economic governance?
If President Trump were to re-negotiate NAFTA little is likely to change with regard to burdensome regulation and the inevitable erosion of national independence from international law will continue. Repeal of the 1700 page trade agreement is the only way to ensure the trend toward unbridled globalization is halted and re-evaluated to take into account what is best for America and the American people.
Now is the time to weigh in with President Trump.
NAFTA: Repeal or Re-Negotiate?
Call or write the President at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call
”… whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them for ourselves.”
Ronald Reagan “A Time For Choosing”, Oct 27, 1964