Loading...
BYH to the one saying that Democrats don't believe in America's borders. Where do they get this stuff? I've never heard...

NAFTA is dead. Long live NAFTA

North America Trade Trump-1

President Donald Trump speaks as he announces a revamped North American free trade deal, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. The new deal, reached just before a midnight deadline imposed by the U.S., will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It replaces the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Donald Trump had called a job-killing disaster. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Loading…

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

On Monday President Donald Trump announced the end of NAFTA, the trade agreement he's repeatedly called a "disaster" for U.S. workers, and hailed its successor, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, as the greatest trade deal ever seen. As you might therefore expect, the new agreement is just a lightly tweaked version of the old. Despite the president's theatrics, NAFTA lives on.

That's good — because, far from being a disaster, free trade across North America serves the interests of all three countries. But Trump's USMCA has a downside. It was achieved only after months of needless economic uncertainty and the trashing of America's reputation as a reliable partner.

One main change is new rules on cars. To qualify for tariff-free access, 75 percent of the content of imports must be produced within North America, up from 62.5 percent under NAFTA; in addition, 40 percent of the content must be attributable to workers making at least $16 an hour. Neither point will have much effect on prevailing patterns of trade.

The administration had previously made much of NAFTA's dispute-settlement procedures, complaining that they infringe U.S. sovereignty and put U.S. companies at a disadvantage. One of the three methods, the so-called Chapter 11 investor-state dispute settlement system, will be scaled back, but the other two will be essentially unchanged.

The new deal includes rules to prevent countries from deliberately weakening their currencies in order to gain a trade advantage. Fine — but the U.S., Canada and Mexico haven't done that, so it makes no difference. Protection for intellectual property will be improved — adopting measures from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump denounced and abandoned on his first day in office. And Canada has agreed to a modest liberalization of its bizarre system of dairy quotas and prices — so some U.S. farmers will sell more milk.

Going into the talks, the U.S. had called for a sunset clause requiring the deal to lapse after five years unless renewed. USMCA includes a 16-year sunset, with reviews every six years that can reset the clock. In effect, under USMCA, the sun need never set — just as with NAFTA.

Some of the tweaks in USMCA are good, some not so good, but the new pact mostly affirms the existing arrangements. Given the current cease-fire in Trump's trade war with Europe, the administration's trade complaints will focus more exclusively on China. (It's notable that USMCA gestures in that direction, by barring members from negotiating trade deals with so-called non-market economies.) A worsening breakdown in U.S.-China relations now poses the biggest threat to global prosperity.

In coming to terms with China on trade and other issues, the U.S. will need the support of its allies, so it's good that Trump has backed away from his trade fights with Mexico, Canada and Europe. But his aggressive and unruly posturing has done great harm nonetheless. The president has sent the message that he disdains alliances, sees the world in zero-sum terms, and cannot be trusted. The main result of his sound and fury over NAFTA is diminished U.S. sway in the world.

Bloomberg Opinion

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

December 13, 2018

North Carolina corporations, again, are about to get another huge tax break — a break they do not need. It will make it more difficult for the government to meet the obligations it has to provide a quality education to the state’s children and high quality of life to all its…

N.C. Legislative Building

December 12, 2018

In his 1991 confirmation hearings, C-SPAN noted on Friday, former attorney general William Barr declared that "nothing could be more destructive of our system of government, of the rule of law, or Department of Justice as an institution, than any toleration of political interference with the…

Trump Attorney General-2

December 10, 2018

While the National Flood Insurance Program covers only 134,000 households our of North Carolina’s 3.8 million, it will likely pay for repairs costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Add all the damage in other states this year, from Florence and later from Hurricane Michael, which flattened…

Harvey-Flood Insurance-4

December 09, 2018

It is almost a truism in criminal investigations that those who flip early and help prosecutors build their case against higher-ranking figures are shown greater leniency than those who try to gut it out.

Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Trump’s national security adviser, is…

Trump Russia Probe Flynn

December 08, 2018

In June 1948, after the College World Series and graduation day at Yale, young George H.W. Bush packed up his cranberry-red Studebaker (a graduation gift from his father) and headed the car’s distinctive nose in a southwesterly direction. The little car got him to Odessa and to a shotgun…

Obit George HW Bush-3

December 07, 2018

In the week since the state Board of Elections declined to certify the results of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election, journalists and others have begun to fill in the details of a troubling case of apparent ballot fraud. In Bladen County — and perhaps other counties…

Election 2018 North Carolina Congress

December 04, 2018

As many as 670,000 North Carolinians could gain sorely needed Medicaid coverage if Gov. Roy Cooper and members of both parties in the legislature will work together to help them.

Now that voters have restored some balance to the state’s power structure, that idea isn’t so far-fetched…

112118Cooper-SECU-2

December 03, 2018

What’s going on in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District? An election certification is being held up. The person behind the delay is being a bit coy about it. The public is in the dark. That needs to change — and soon.

The state board of elections refused Tuesday to certify…

Election 2018 9th Congressional District

November 30, 2018

On Nov. 6, 1986 the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) or Reagan Amnesty was passed. This act granted amnesty to those illegal immigrants in the U.S. that met the eligibility requirements of the act.

In passing the act, both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate agreed to secure…

November 30, 2018

By making it easier to sue for retaliatory arrests, Supreme Court justices could pump the brakes on “contempt of cop” cases where citizens’ cross words and surly attitudes lead to low-level criminal charges.

The high court heard oral arguments this week in Nieves v. Bartlett, a…

83 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 9
        Next Page»   Last Page»