Loading...
Did we move up a conference too far? Remember the WWII movie named "A Bridge Too Far?" Has ECU talked its way into a...

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

October 16, 2018 - 54 minutes ago

This has been a banner season for punishing white-collar crime. Guilty pleas by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former longtime personal lawyer, and criminal convictions and additional guilty pleas in the case of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have drawn enormous attention.…

Trump Political Fallout

October 15, 2018

Nearly three dozen administration officials have left or been forced out of key posts since President Donald Trump was sworn in last year. Few, if any, will be missed as much as Nikki Haley, who announced her resignation as United Nations ambassador on Tuesday.

For a former South Carolina…

Trump Haley-2

October 14, 2018

It’s the kind of anniversary no one wants to remember. A year ago this past Friday, four inmates at Pasquotank Correctional Institution beat to death four correctional employees in a failed escape attempt.

The brutal murders on Oct. 12, 2017, coming on the heels of the vicious murder of a…

October 13, 2018

It’s sorely tempting to criticize Harnett Central High School Principal Cindy Gordon after she reportedly kicked a student out of a football game for wearing a Donald Trump shirt. But examining this blunder in isolation misses the bigger picture.

The Oct. 5 incident didn’t happen in a…

October 12, 2018

Global progressives are having an anxiety attack over the near-triumph Sunday of Brazil’s conservative presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

After years of corruption and recession, apparently millions of Brazilians think an outsider is exactly what the country needs. Maybe they know more…

Braizl Protest-6

October 11, 2018

Mercury is a noxious byproduct of burning coal. It contaminates fish and, in turn, people, leading to brain damage in infants and small children, as well as serious cardiovascular and central nervous system problems in adults. Restrictions on U.S. power plants have substantially reduced their…

ENERGY-POLICY

October 10, 2018

If anything, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has a habit of understatement. The U.N. group issues reports so thoroughly scrubbed that they seem cautious in the moment and downright timid in retrospect. That gives their latest and most dire warning added force.

The new IPCC report…

United Nations Climate-15

October 09, 2018

Trying to protect an open internet state by state, rather than by federal law, is a daunting and unwieldy goal.

Unfortunately, it’s also entirely necessary, given that the Trump administration and Congress are more than happy to let internet providers restrict what we — the American…

Net Neutrality

October 08, 2018

Jim Allison lost his mother, a brother, two uncles and a cousin to cancer, but he says he never set out to find a cure for the disease. Like many great scientists, he was driven by “the selfish desire to be the first person on the planet to know something,” as he explained to Houston…

Nobel Medicine

October 07, 2018

“I built what I built myself.”

This boast has long been at the core of the mythology of Donald Trump, Self-Made Billionaire. As the oft-told story goes, young Trump accepted a modest $1 million loan from his father, Fred, a moderately successful real estate developer from Queens, and…

Trump Inheritance Taxes
100 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 10
        Next Page»   Last Page»