Democrats Will Improve Our Image Abroad?

It looks like they are making the problem worse:

Candidates rebuked for attacks on Nafta

Mexico and Canada on Wednesday voiced concern about calls by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, as the Democratic presidential hopefuls compete to adopt the most sceptical stance towards free trade ahead of next week’s Ohio primary election.

In a televised debate on Tuesday night, Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton both threatened to pull out of Nafta if elected president unless Canada and Mexico agreed to strengthen labour and environmental standards.

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the US, told the Financial Times that the US, Canada and Mexico had all benefited from Nafta and warned against reopening negotiations.

“Mexico does not support reopening Nafta,” he said. “It would be like throwing a monkey wrench into the engine of North American competitiveness.”

Mexican diplomats believe a renegotiation could resurrect the commercial disputes and barriers to trade that the agreement itself was designed to overcome.

Jim Flaherty, Canada’s finance minister, also expressed “concern” about the remarks by the Democratic candidates.

“Nafta is a tremendous benefit to Americans and perhaps the [candidates] have not had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the benefit to Americans and the American economy of Nafta,” he said.

The full article from the Financial Times can be found here.

Tufts professor Daniel Drezner comments: “I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Democrats cannot simultaneously talk about improving America’s standing abroad while acting like a belligerent unilateralist when it comes to trade policy.”

Update: The economist has more.

23 Responses to “Democrats Will Improve Our Image Abroad?”

  • I guess liberterians hate Nafta. They say it is “free” trade in an entirely Orewillian sense. See for instance here:

    I know Ron Paul calls it “managed trade.” I’m starting to think that once again I was tricked into thinking support for Nafta is what a good, small government kind of guy would do.

    Now, I know you think government is great at everything, which is why you think it’s a good idea to send our troops all over the world to fix all these problems. They’re so good at that, and it’s not like they create more problems than they solve. Big, big government. So maybe you would like Nafta.

  • This is why I preferred Bill Richardson to Obama and Clinton. Drezner is right. Obama and Clinton are pandering.

  • Jon,

    Be careful how much stock you put into the mises blog. They are not what you think. Most libertarians, especially mainstream ones like CATO and reason magazine types, strongly distance themselves from the Mises organization (as opposed to Ludwig Von Mises himself, a great person).

    As far as NAFTA, this is one of the many reasons why I support it.

  • Are you saying you support it because it has produced certain benefits, like reductions in tariffs, etc?

    Apparently the position of people like Ron Paul is that you don’t need a multi-national organization to eliminate tariffs. You can eliminate your own tariffs, and if neighboring countries won’t they are the ones that will suffer as goods and capital are attracted to lower tax regions. Nafta probably has resulted in benefits, but those could have been achieved without ceding national sovereignty to a multi-national organization that is much like the U.N.

    What happens when Kyoto treaties and world wide union deals are imposed on us by these other countries? Apparently tax bills required by WTO regulations are the first ones rushed through Congress, while others languish in committee. These are the first steps towards global governments that wipe away our sovereignty entirely. It also results in the creation of world banks, which screw everyone. Today the Federal Reserve simply prints money and loans it to the U.S. government. I can protect my money by moving it in to foreign currencies. But with a world bank that option will be removed. You’ll be forced use their currency, which they devalue by printing it at their own whim. There will be fewer limits on the bankers abilities to manipulate currency.

    So apparently the reasoning is why not just enact tariff policies that benefit commerce without creating new U.N. style organizations that are always a disaster anyway?

  • The argument goes that international organizations help eliminate tariffs much more rapidly than the “I’ll just do it myself” mentality.

    Yes, their continued tariffs harm them…but they also harm us. Hence the international organization rationale.

  • Short term gain for long term pain. Ceding sovereignty is a bad idea. Their tariffs would hurt them more than us.

  • Who cares what others think? Not I.

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