LORI WALLACH is a sharp cookie.
Trade agreements are handouts to big business,
that cost workers here and abroad their livelihood,
and sometimes their lives.
The world can't afford free trade.
LORI WALLACH: Basically, there were a combination of factors. These trade agreements, like the TPP, NAFTA 20 years ago, are like the corporate Christmas tree. This is the one piece of "legislation" that every corporate interest loves. It jacks up medicine prices with patent extensions for Big Pharma. Big Content loves it because they’re like SOPA-type copyright rules. The chemical and pharmaceutical companies like it because they have actual rights to not be regulated and inspected. The oil and gas companies love it because it gives them absolute rights to natural resources. The chronic job offshoring companies love it because it gives them new investor protections to offshore. So they all lobbied Congress, squeezed Congress.
But in the end, the reason NAFTA passed was Fast Track, the arcane Nixon-era procedure that allows the executive branch to write legislation, stuffing in all kinds of goodies unrelated to the trade agreement to buy congressional votes, special deals. And then that goes through Congress with no amendments allowed, very quickly, yes-or-no vote.
THE LEGACY OF NAFTA