NAFTA at 20: One Million Lost U.S. Jobs, Higher Income Inequality, Doubled Agriculture Trade Deficit With Mexico and Canada, Displacement and Instability in Mexico, and Corporate Attacks on Environmental Laws

New Public Citizen Report Details NAFTA’s Broken Promises; Obama White House Doubles Down in Push for ‘NAFTA on Steroids’ TransPacific Partnership Deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the eve of the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) 20th anniversary (Jan. 1), a new Public Citizen report shows that not only did promises made by proponents not materialize, but many results are exactly the opposite. Such outcomes include a staggering $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada, one million net U.S. jobs lost because of NAFTA, a doubling of immigration from Mexico, larger agricultural trade deficits with Mexico and Canada, and more than $360 million paid to corporations after “investor-state” tribunal attacks on, and rollbacks of, domestic public interest policies.

The study tracks the promises made by U.S. corporations like Chrysler and Caterpillar to create specific numbers of American jobs if NAFTA was approved, and reveals government data showing that instead, they fired U.S. workers and moved operations to Mexico. The data also
show how post-NAFTA trade and investment trends have contributed to middle-class pay cuts, which in turn contributed to growing income inequality; how since NAFTA, U.S. trade deficit growth with Mexico and Canada has been 45 percent higher than with countries not party to a U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and how U.S. manufacturing and services exports to Canada and Mexico have grown at less than half the pre-NAFTA rate.

“NAFTA’s actual outcomes prove how damaging this type of agreement is for most people, that it should be renegotiated and why we cannot have any more such deals that include job offshoring incentives, requirements we import food that doesn’t meet our safety standards or new
rights for firms to get taxpayer compensation before foreign tribunals over laws they don’t like,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Given NAFTA’s record of damage, it is equal parts disgusting and infuriating that now President Barack Obama has joined the corporate Pinocchios who lied about NAFTA in recycling similar claims to try to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is NAFTA-on-steroids.”

As Americans have lived with NAFTA’s effects since its Jan. 1, 1994, start, public opinion has shifted dramatically, from a narrow divide during the 1993 NAFTA debate to overwhelming opposition today. A 2012 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that 53 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should “do whatever is necessary” to “renegotiate” or “leave” NAFTA, while only 15 percent believe the U.S. should “continue to be a member of NAFTA.” That opposition cuts across party lines, class divisions and education levels, perhaps explaining growing controversy over the proposed deepening and expansion of the NAFTA model through the TPP.

Read the report here.