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A Progressive Agenda for Renegotiating NAFTA

Originally published by on 11/22/2016

Workers make decorative tassels for curtains in a maquila in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. From Matamoros, Mexico to Tijuana, US-owned maquiladoras employ a large work force. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)

During the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, or withdraw the United States from the pact.

Although no one at Trump Tower so far has asked me for advice (and I’m not waiting by my phone for a call), I know a little bit about this subject: Eight years ago I helped convene a panel of experts to make recommendations to another president who promised to rewrite NAFTA.

That would have been Barack Obama, who, as a candidate in 2008, was clear on the issue: “NAFTA’s shortcomings were evident when signed and we must now amend the agreement to fix them.”

Alas, as president, he did no such thing, which is of course one of the reasons we find ourselves with a right-wing president who rode popular dissatisfaction with globalization into the White House.