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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 19, 2014 at 6:45 AM

Trade: Obama needs to face the realities of NAFTA

President Obama spoke recently to the Business Roundtable, as reported in the Seattle Times article [“Obama offers candor, insights in Q&A with top CEOs,” Nation & World, Dec. 4].

Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. presidents promised shared prosperity, while our economy de-industrialized and millions of family-wage manufacturing jobs disappeared. Our accumulative trade debt approaches $10 trillion.

With NAFTA, trade negotiators had the benefit of the doubt. Trade skeptics had a burden of proof. Now, with 25 years of experience of NAFTA, President Obama and his negotiators bear the burden of proof. We’ve seen enough offshoring and distortions in power relationships in favor of multinational corporations and away from workers and the environment.
President Obama ridiculed free-trade skeptics for fighting the last war. The Washington Post version of this story carried a counterpoint, “We promise not to fight the last war if he promises not to put [another flawed] version of the trade deal on the table.”

It’s clear now what a good trade deal would look like. We could export apples, software and airplanes, and bring business interests in balance with the public good. Maybe President Obama will speak at a meeting of workers and environmentalists and tell us that was worth fighting for.

State Sen. Maralyn Chase, 32nd Legislative District

Comments | More in trade | Topics: Maralyn Chase, NAFTA, President Obama

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