News Release

Voters Revolting Against NAFTA-style Deals?


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.29.54 PMLORI WALLACH, via Nick Florko, nflorko at, @PCGTW
Wallach is director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and was just on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” program this morning — see video.

She said today: “Americans’ opposition to job-killing trade policies fueled the stunning Bernie Sanders upset victory in Michigan. But it also could be a deciding factor in the general election, especially with Donald Trump being the likely GOP nominee. The outcome of the Michigan primary shows the potency of trade issues and foreshadows the trouble Hillary Clinton could face winning key Midwestern states in a race against Trump.

“The elite political class have systematically misread the depth of voters’ ire about the damage done by 20 years of NAFTA-style trade deals supported by Democratic and GOP presidents alike. Or they have dismissed voters’ anger as ill-informed. Yet as this new data [PDF] released today by Public Citizen shows, the voters have it right: The aggregate U.S. goods trade deficit with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners is more than five times as high as before the deals went into effect, while the aggregate trade deficit with non-FTA countries has actually fallen.

“The key differences are soaring imports into the United States from FTA partners and lower growth in U.S. exports to those nations than to non-FTA nations. Growth of U.S. exports to FTA partners has been 29 percent lower than U.S. export growth to the rest of the world over the last decade.

“The aggregate U.S. trade deficit with FTA partners has increased by about $141 billion, or 418 percent, since the FTAs were implemented. In contrast, the aggregate trade deficit with all non-FTA countries has decreased by about $46 billion, or 6 percent, since 2005 (the year before the median entry date of existing FTAs).”

“Using the Obama administration’s net exports-to-jobs ratio, the FTA trade deficit surge implies the loss of over 736,000 U.S. jobs. This does not even take into account jobs from our soaring trade deficit with China.”

Also see: “Obama optimistic on TPP, pushes for votes.”