Watchdog groups are sounding the alarm over the Trump administration’s formal announcement to Congress on Thursday that he will relaunch negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued the official notification under a law that allows the president to fast-track legislation through Congress. Lighthizer will now spend the next 90 days consulting with lawmakers about the stance the U.S. should take in the talks, which could come as soon as August 16, Bloomberg reports.
President Donald Trump’s stances against NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and vows to “drain the swamp” of corporate interests were some of the few positions that garnered him some bipartisan support during the campaign—but, like many of his pledges, those appeared to fall through after he took office, opponents said.
Trump “built his campaign by demonizing [NAFTA], which he called ‘the worst deal ever,’ and by making assurances that he could rework trade deals to protect the American people,” said Bill Waren, senior trade analyst for the environmental group Friends of the Earth. “Now he plans to give another handout to corporations through renegotiating NAFTA.”
Trump’s plan for the maligned, decades-old deal—leaked in March—shows a NAFTA that “will encourage corporations to pollute our air and water, poison our food, and accelerate climate change,” Waren said. The draft proposal would keep some of the trade deal’s most controversial provisions, including an arbitration panel that lets investors sue governments for supposed loss of profit imposed by environmental and human rights safeguards.
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