Let’s Get NAFTA Into The Political Debate

Unfortunately this election cycle is a huge disappointment among the current candidates from both major parties.  Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have cut and pasted the AFL-CIO anti-trade positions to their websites and routinely include the union’s talking points in their speeches.

They tell us they are going to “fix” the evils of NAFTA or “opt out”. This is the same rhetoric the ultra-left wing Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador used against NAFTA in the 2006 Mexican election. He lost the popular vote by less than one percent. Lopez Obrador openly campaigned that it was his intention to take Mexico out of NAFTA and aligning the country closer with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and other radical leftist Latin American governments. This would have been a disaster for Mexico, the United States and the region. Now Obama and Clinton are essentially endorsing the same decision.

NAFTA is by far the most beneficial trade legislation Congress has ever passed. Obama and Clinton are both ardently against signed Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, but are awaiting Congressional approval. The year 2007 will be known as the year that Democrats lost their way on trade.

Over on the Republican side John McCain rarely mentions trade and when he does his comments are so elementary our competitors from Beijing to Berlin are standing on their seats smugly shouting “four more years”. Although he supports free trade there is no vision, passion or understanding of the issues. It is this sort of knee-jerk reaction that has gotten us into the huge mess we now face.

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