Obama and NAFTA — When an "Upgrade" is Really a Downgrade

Less than a few weeks since taking office, Obama is already dropping hints that his administration would rather see companies and people "buy American" than the alternative. Since this is not a Friday rant, I won't get into the negative US export trade implications of this, however, it suffices to say that the voting public is getting exactly what they bargained for -- a President who favors preserving American jobs (especially union jobs) and protectionism over protecting, let alone expanding, global trade. His latest views on NAFTA also suggest this is one administration we can count on to royally tick off our trading partners. In the above-linked article from the Dallas News Obama is quoted as talking about wanting a NAFATA "upgrade". But what exactly is an upgrade?

The story begins by noting that this upgrade serves as "notice that he hasn't abandoned a campaign pledge that irritated Mexico while appeasing union voters." In a recent meeting with Mexican President Calderon, an Obama spokesman suggested that he "expressed his continued commitment to upgrading NAFTA to strengthen labor and environmental provisions to reflect the values that are widely shared in both of our countries." Translation: we need "fair trade" with Mexico vs. free trade. Obama's stance has Mexican officials scared. And it should have you scared as well. That is, unless you're for downgrading our free trade agreements in Latin America and beyond. Bill Clinton, where are you when we need you most?

- Jason Busch

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