Trump’s NAFTA Renegotiation Seeks To Empower Toxic Food Industry
After three decades of disastrous Free Trade policies that have seen American jobs shipped out the door, Mexican sweat shops pop up all across the country, and the loss of biodiversity and diversity of the food supply in Mexico, NAFTA is finally being looked at once again. With that second look, a tangled web of interests and perspectives has arisen that are difficult for the average American to unravel, especially given the fact that their media has done nothing but lie to them in regards to the effects of NAFTA on their own economy.
Corporate America and the financial sector are and have always been in favor of the agreement due to the fact that they are able to take advantage of cheap labor and weaker worker and environmental protections in order to maximize profits. Likewise, major international corporations like Monsanto have been able to move into Mexico and Canada, destroying the biodiversity and health of the people living there.
In addition, a host of wealthy oligarchical ideologues who wish to see “one planet” united under the banner of trade have long seen the NAFTA deal as the first step in the creation of the “one world” system by using trade to unite the Americas.
Because these three elements have been in favor of NAFTA, both the U.S. government and American media have thus worked to promote, protect, and expand the agreement since the day it was publicly proposed.
Unfortunately, the alternative media is handicapped when it comes to the economy, many researchers and journalists simply being uneducated as to the tragedy of “globalization” that began in earnest with NAFTA decades ago. A penchant for Austrian school economics or anarchy has paralyzed many from the ability to oppose anything labeled “Free Trade” while the more leftist varieties are overcome with Western self-hatred and “international” ideology that globalization, with all its horrors, can never be opposed.
Within the context of the milieu, US President Donald Trump announced that he was going to “renegotiate” NAFTA, naturally bringing down the hammer of media, government, corporate, banking, and even alt media criticism. Of course, NAFTA needs to be renegotiated. But, even more so, NAFTA and the rest of the Free Trade agreements need to be eliminated altogether. One way to do this would be to impose a 15% Protective Tariff on any and everything coming into the country that cannot reasonably be produced here. Although Trump has announced sporadic tariffs on steel and other products coming from China, the option of a blanket tariff appears off the table.
So what will this renegotiation look like? What does Trump actually want to do?
The contentious negotiations over the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement have veered into one of the world’s most pressing health issues: fighting obesity.
Urged on by big American food and soft-drink companies, the Trump administration is using the trade talks with Mexico and Canada to try to limit the ability of the pact’s three members — including the United States — to warn consumers about the dangers of junk food, according to confidential documents outlining the American position.
The American stance reflects an intensifying battle among trade officials, the food industry and governments across the hemisphere. The administration’s position could help insulate American manufacturers from pressure to include more explicit labels on their products, both abroad and in the United States. But health officials worry that it would also impede international efforts to contain a growing health crisis.
Citing growing rates of obesity and the growing desire to do something about it (allegedly), The New York Times refers to tough marketing legislation passed in Chile which saw black stop signs placed on food packages warning of health risks, the banning of iconic marketing “characters” such as Tony the Tiger, Chester Cheetah, and the German Kinder Egg.
The New York Times article reads:
Officials in Mexico and Canada — along with governments in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia — are discussing options like the use of colors, shapes and other easy-to-understand symbols that warn consumers of health risks. They were inspired in large part by Chile’s introduction of stringent regulations in 2016 that include requirements for black stop-sign warnings on the front of some packages.
But the U.S. is trying to fight the ability of fellow NAFTA signatories to follow suite. The article says,
But the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which is leading the Nafta talks on the American side, is trying to head off the momentum. It is pushing to limit the ability of any Nafta member to require consumer warnings on the front of sugary drinks and fatty packaged foods, according to a draft of the proposal reviewed by The New York Times.
The American provision seeks to prevent any warning symbol, shape or color that “inappropriately denotes that a hazard exists from consumption of the food or nonalcoholic beverages.”
Some experts have likened the fight over food labeling to that over tobacco — and the fierce if ultimately unsuccessful opposition and lobbying that industry waged to prevent the imposition of health warnings on packaging. The Trump administration’s position on food labeling reflects the desires of a broad coalition of soft-drink and packaged-foods manufacturers in the United States.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a food industry trade group that sits on the advisory board to the trade talks, says it favors voluntary labeling programs. The group says it “supports a modernized Nafta that will ensure standards are based on science, minimize unnecessary trade barriers, and benefit consumers in all three countries.”
. . . .
Heading off pressure for more explicit warnings through the Nafta negotiation is especially appealing to the food and beverage industry because it could help limit domestic regulation in the United States as well as avert a broad global move to adopt mandatory health-labeling standards.
The complete laissez-faire approach taken by the United States to its own food supply (GMOs, chemicals used in food production, etc.) is clearly detrimental to the health of the overall population. In fact, it’s been absolutely disastrous. Allowing corporations free rein and virtual monopoly of the food supply is incredibly dangerous on a number of levels as I have written about on countless occasions. Likewise, Chile’s regulations are overly restrictive since they are attempting to control consumer choice as opposed to ensuring their food supply is actually clean and healthy in the first place.
But whether or not America or Chile’s regulations are too onerous or too weak is not the issue here. The issue is whether or not Mexico and Canada have a right to pass laws that stand in opposition to the wishes of the United States and, conversely, whether or not the United States has the right to pass laws in opposition to the wishes of Canada and Mexico.
The renegotiation thus stands to not only head off any new regulation or protective measures that could be taken against destructive and dangerous foods here in the US but also to prevent Canada and Mexico from making their own decisions.
In this case, it is clear that NAFTA is a gross attack on national sovereignty of all participating nations. Furthermore, it is also clear that NAFTA is once again manifesting itself as the benefactor of corporations first and foremost by lobbying the United States government to use renegotiations of the agreement to increase corporate control of governments rather than to improve the lives of the people those governments are allegedly supposed to serve.
In the absence of any real response to NAFTA (a 15% protective tariff, for instance) we are being treated to the “renegotiation” of a treaty which, even if renegotiated to the benefit of workers, will continue to erode national sovereignty and see formerly high wage jobs sent to the lowest bidder in terms of worker welfare, wages, and environmental restrictions.
We don’t need a renegotiation of NAFTA, we need to end it.
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Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies,Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria,and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 1,000 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.