(EFF) – The opening round of a series of negotiations over a proposed revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began this week in Washington, D.C. between trade representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Already it is clear that the office…
The financial crisis of 2007-2009 effectively terminated the process of globalization. In 2015 world trade suddenly dropped by more than 10% for the first time since 2009. Nothing like this has been seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. But some politicians, public figures, scholars, and journalists continue to talk about globalization as an «objective» and «progressive» process, even though it has already ended.
The world has embarked on a new era. One important hallmark of this era is the strengthening of protectionism in international trade and investment, the splintering of the global market into trade and economic zones, and even the move to regulating trade on a bilateral basis. According to the WTO, just in the period between October 2015 and May 2016 the G20 countries adopted 145 laws aimed at strengthening trade barriers, and over 1,500 such laws have been adopted since 2008. In total, according to estimates by the renowned British economist Simon Evenett, there are close to 4,000 protectionist laws and regulations on the books around the world. And the countries of the G20 – where over 90% of global trade originates – are responsible for 80 % of those trade barriers.
A Mexican fair trade activist offers lessons from the North American Free Trade Agreement about the likely impacts of the Trans-Pacific deal on inequality.
After the November election, all eyes will be on President Obama to see if he will follow through on his vow to push for a vote during a lame-duck session of Congress on the wildly unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In a previous interview with Inequality.org, AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff Thea Lee explained why the U.S. labor movement strongly opposes the trade pact. She described the TPP as yet one more deal that would put downward pressure on U.S. labor conditions by further opening up the U.S. market and giving additional protections for U.S. corporations looking to move jobs offshore. Lee has been a leader in building international solidarity against such corporate-driven trade agreements.