Trump, protectionism, and empire

News 19 July, 2017
  • Photo AFP

    Philippe Hurteau

    Wednesday, 19 July, 2017 09:28

    Wednesday, 19 July, 2017 09:34

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    The United States has finally submitted their requests for renegotiation of NAFTA : a review of the ‘cultural exception’ that protects the local content, opening up the agricultural market, the promotion of the “buy american” while wanting to prevent Mexico and Canada to adopt similar policies and, finally, allow the justice of the country of Uncle Sam to resolve only commercial disputes.

    Of course, we are far from the rhetoric revanchist tweets from Donald Trump. Nevertheless, this document clearly puts on the table the real intention of the new administration : renegotiate NAFTA to the exclusive benefit of the u.s. investment.

    When the president denounces the NAFTA as unfair to the firms of his country, he did not think really that they are disadvantaged, or that Mexico and Canada have the lion’s share of this agreement. The truth of the renegotiation process that opens is to use the enormous burden of the economic and political power of the United States to ensure a systematic advantage to the deployment of u.s. capital.

    The revision of the ‘cultural exception’ is intended to prevent the introduction of tariffs or taxes against groups like Amazon or Netflix so that they may continue them without concern of their conquest of external markets.

    A review of the rules of agricultural, this is to allow the large companies in this sector to win the market by using dumping practices while cutting piece of the regulatory standards that protect our farmers.

    The promotion of the “buy american” for government contracts at the same time as demand from Mexico and Canada that they do not establish any similar provision, this is to confirm that the development of any industrial policy in these two countries must be subordinated to that of the United States.

    Want to require that commercial litigation should be tried before the american courts, and not by a panel bi-national is simply a desire to impose his law in the place of an arbitration mechanism.

    Protectionism as a smoke screen

    We are here very far from the implementation of protectionist policies. The objectives of the negotiating team mandated by the administration Trump are not related to the protection of critical sectors in the american economy. There is very little question of protecting jobs in areas of activity considered to be priority or strategic, but to facilitate the control on the external markets.

    It is therefore not a question of protectionism, but of imperialism. The purpose of the administration is to protect its domestic market while raising external barriers impeding the expansion of the activities of the multinationals that embody the vital interests of his country.

    Many of us have seen in the rhetoric of the candidate Trump, during the election, an opportunity to revaluate the idea of protectionism. It should indeed be normal for a country to be able to protect its economy according to its national priorities. As it was yet to be expected, the real intentions of the candidate who became president are all other.

    This does not mean that it is necessary today to renounce the criticism of free trade, only those who believed in the Trump ally need to review their analysis.

    In the Face of demands which, if they materialize in a NAFTA 2.0, will have negative consequences for our society, what perspective can we develop? Defend programs such as the management of the offer or the clause of “cultural exception” seems a minimum. Why not make a no more and take advantage of the opportunity to present, on a basis of progressive, while the NAFTA in question? Such an attempt may not be not lead in the short term, but would help to expand our economic prospects for the future.