Alternatives to NAFTA and Corporate Globalization

Absent new inclusive, transparent policymaking processes – with proposals and draft texts published regularly – we cannot achieve new rules for the global economy that eliminate the special protections and privileges for corporate interests at the heart of our current policies and add the missing protections for workers, consumers and the environment. Today, the closed-door negotiations of “trade” agreements, with special access for 500 official U.S. trade advisors mainly representing corporate interests and the public and press locked out, means the resulting deals get rigged to suit a narrow group of corporate interests.

Read our paper on what must and must not be included in a good trade agreements: The New Rules of the Road.

Here are the highlights of what negotiating process and resulting trade agreements that benefit people and the plant would and would not include:

  1. Democratic, accountable and transparent negotiating process without privileged backroom access for corporate lobbyists and industry associations. (Learn more)
  2. Eliminate the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, which promotes job outsourcing and gives multinational corporations rights to sue the government before a tribunal of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can award the corporations unlimited sums to be paid by taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits. (Learn more)
  3. Eliminate terms that provide pharmaceutical firms monopoly rights that drive up the cost of life-saving medicines. Why would a trade agreement require governments to put in place classic rent-seeking monopoly protections for certain industries that block competition? Yet that is exactly what the extensive patent and other monopoly rights for pharmaceutical firms do. (Learn more)
  4. Include strong and enforceable labor, wage, environmental and climate standards that set a floor, but not a ceiling on required conduct. The terms of the International Labor Organization treaties, the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and other international pacts provide international standards to which numerous countries have already agreed. (Learn more)
  5. Any trade deal must require all imported food and other goods and all services being consumed within a country to minimally comply with that country’s domestic safety and environmental rules. (Learn more)
  6. Eliminate terms that waive or undermine Buy American and Buy Local government procurement policies or that expose to challenge procurement policies that require labor, human rights, environmental, health or other conditions. (Learn more)
  7. Any trade deal must include rules against trade cheating, including terms to counter currency manipulation.


Learn more about the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment Act (TRADE Act) of 2009. This legislation provided a detailed replacement of the current U.S. “Fast Track” trade negotiation process and specified what terms should and should not be in U.S. trade pacts

This legislation had more than 150 congressional cosponsors and broad support among unions and civil society groups. It provides a detailed plan for a new trade agreement model and a new process to negotiate and enforce fair trade deals.

Fast Track Replacement

Learn more about the closed-door, corporate-influenced Fast Track process now used for trade negotiations and congressional approval of trade agreements and about more democratic, inclusive alternatives to Fast Track.