FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama Needs to Take a Stand on Trade

When President Obama attends the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) meeting (or the more innocuous sounding, North American Leaders Summit) in Guadalajara next week he has the opportunity to keep some campaign promises.

The SPP has been referred to as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on steroids. For good reason.

As a candidate Obama was a strong opponent of NAFTA. During a primary debate in Cleveland Obama said : “I will make sure that we renegotiate… I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage…”. He noted that NAFTA had outsourced millions of jobs, had weak provisions for protection of the environment and labor standards.

Now, it seems he has “softened quite a bit, to put it mildly”, according to former US Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci.

Candidate Obama said, in an Obama Administration, meetings would be conducted with transparency and the active involvement of citizens, labor, the private sector and non-governmental organizations. So why hasn’t he scrapped SPP?

At least NAFTA was debated in Congress, SPP is a strictly closed door meeting between the Administrations of the US, Canada, Mexico and the North American Competitiveness Council.
No citizen input, no governmental oversight, just the “Three Amigos” and big business interests.

Unless he has completely softened on the tough talk of his candidacy he must end SPP. SPP, it seems, could just be a clever way to follow through on the provisions of NAFTA that were launched in 1994.

“Harmonization”, a key component of SPP, will lower the standards that protect the environment, the safety of our food and our health.

Other than increasing the profits of corporations, the hopped up, secretly negotiated SPP offers no benefit to the average American. Either in security or prosperity. We have seen the emergence of the Swine flu, numerous food safety violations and the never ending loss of jobs.

Mexico has seen its economy collapse, a cycle of increasing violence, militarization and drug trafficking. Small farmers have been pushed off their land and into abject poverty. Now big business and the Three Amigos offer them more of the same only faster? So who is benefiting? Canada?

Hardly, Canadians have never liked NAFTA, and the best SPP can offer them is increased mining of the Alberta Tar Sands to fuel the US appetite for oil and more armed Transportation and Security Administration officers on Canadian soil.

President Obama has given enough ground on his campaign promises; on ending torture, on single payer health care, on ending the war. It’s time to bring trade into the light of day, like he promised.

A partnership should be built on more than bureaucrats and fat cat businessmen, it needs citizen involvement and approval.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio perhaps stated it best, “We need to change the nature of our trade agreements. I hope this new president will lead us in that direction– toward more democracy and less exploitation. We’ll see.”

Yes we’ll see.

JIM GOODMAN is a dairy farmer and activist from Wonewoc, WI and an IATP Food and Society Fellow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin.

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail