As renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) chugs along rapidly behind closed doors, President Donald Trump will soon be forced to decide whether to keep or abandon his campaign pledge to make the pact "much better" for working people.
NAFTA's renegotiation should be an opportunity to end its quarter-century legacy of job loss and wage suppression. Longtime fair trade advocates warn, however, that without increased public pressure, Trump could end up making NAFTA even worse for working people.
Rather than put good-paying jobs, better wages, and human rights at the center of NAFTA's renegotiation, as unions and others have demanded, big corporations are pushing to "modernize" NAFTA in ways that strengthen corporate power.
In recent weeks, as NAFTA's renegotiation reached its "middle stage," corporations have dramatically increased their pressure on the White House, descending on Capitol Hill in droves; holding multiple press conferences; sending various letters; and encouraging their friends in the "Goldman-Sachs wing" of the administration to intervene with the president.
Chamber of Commerce Vice President John G. Murphy explained during a mid-October press event, "We're urging the administration to recalibrate its approach and stop and listen to the business community, the agriculture community, the people who actually engage in trade."