It includes some essential improvements that progressives have long demanded. But also includes unacceptable new powers for pharmaceutical firms to keep medicine prices high.
After a year of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations, a revised text was signed November 30, 2018. It includes some essential improvements that progressives have long demanded. But also includes unacceptable new powers for pharmaceutical firms to keep medicine prices high.
And critically, more work is needed to ensure the deal includes strong labor and environmental standards that are subject to swift and certain enforcement.
This NAFTA 2.0 text is not the transformational replacement of the corporaterigged trade-pact model that we have demanded. But if we fight to get the Big Pharma giveaways out, swift and certain enforcement of improved labor and environmental standards in, and achieve some other key improvements — then the final package Congress likely will vote on in the first half of 2019 could stop some of NAFTA’s continuing, serious damage to people across North America. That’s worth fighting for. We must win improvements to the current deal.
No one should refer to NAFTA 2.0 by Donald Trump’s “U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement” (USMCA) rebrand. Trump’s claim he has created a totally different kind of agreement is a deceitful sales pitch like those past presidents used to hawk trade pacts. But NAFTA 2.0 is different from past trade deals, including in ways that reflect decades of union and civil society campaigning that has transformed trade politics. But more improvements are needed for the new deal to stop NAFTA’s ongoing damage and not create new problems.