Though it didn’t generate much news, I want to discuss an important summit meeting that was held in Toluca, Mexico a few weeks ago.
The meeting – to figure out how to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, aka NAFTA – included the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper; the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto; and our own Barack Obama.
You see, while NAFTA is credited with producing over $1 trillion in trade each year, it counts trade that would’ve likely taken place anyway. And now that NAFTA is 20 years old, it’s easy to see that it was a job killer. In fact, NAFTA was a stepping stone on the path that sent record numbers of American jobs abroad.
So NAFTA is currently slated to be replaced by a secretive, 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This partnership would continue to integrate the United States’ economy with our two closes neighbors, in addition to a group of Asian nations. And the global elites are intent on pushing this agreement through.
That’s because multinational corporations love predictability, and they love to create barriers to entry for smaller competitors – which is exactly what these so-called free-trade agreements do. In reality, they’re more about “managed trade” than free trade. We haven’t really had free trade in decades.
The United States of North America?
It’s frightening enough that free-trade agreements are barely understood by America’s ill-informed citizens. But what’s even scarier – and lesser known – is that these international bodies pushing for trade agreements and multinational governance are unelected!
Let me remind you that the European Union (EU) started as a free-trade zone. Today, it has taken almost complete control of European politics.
After trade, the EU began a regulation regime; and now Brussels controls everything from immigration policy to banking. Little is left to the parliaments of the EU member states. Sovereignty has been completely relinquished in the name of integration.
This is exactly how the global elite would have North America operate in 25 years.
And why not? The governing elite do well under these regimes. But their citizens? Less so. Just ask the people of Greece how the common market is working out for them.
Meanwhile, in America, Obama is using a tool known as “fast track” authority to push radical changes. With fast track authority, Barack Obama’s team can negotiate any trade agreement in total secrecy. The coverage blackout only ends once the agreement is signed. And Congress can’t make any amendments to these deals… they simply get to vote yes or no.
Not surprisingly, these trade agreements often pass without Congress ever understanding what’s inside the deal. The Republicans, for their part, usually don’t want to look under the wrapper when “free trade” is stamped on top. But if they paid attention, they’d see that Obama and his team have totally abused this fast track procedure to pass a coveted agenda under the cloak of trade agreements.
Ultimately, the losers are usually small- and medium-sized businesses, whose smaller firms have trouble with compliance and increased regulations. A host of foreign firms end up Balkanizing their business in the name of “completion.”
Of course, I’m all for competition… but completion never comes in the form of an agreement governed by the World Trade Organization. Just look at China. It has firms invading America, yet the Chinese use all sorts of countermeasures to block our access to their markets.
Finally, as Obama’s team continues pushing the deal known at PTT, we’ll do our best to look under the hood for you in the weeks ahead. I predict that Obama’s definition of free trade is vastly different than the dictionary definition. Let’s hope Congress notices.
This commentary appeared at CapitolHillDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo credit: Justin Sloan (Creative Commons)
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom