Environmental Groups Say Trump’s New NAFTA Stinks
USA — October 2, 2018
Environmental groups are already slamming President Donald Trump’s US-Mexican-Canadian trade deal saying the pact has weak environmental provisions. Critics of the pact say the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, which amounts to $1.2 trillion in trade, does not protect either people or the environment.
Greenpeace and Sierra Club lead the environmentalists in criticizing Trump for failing to live up to his claim he would overhaul what he called an unfair North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Critics are mainly focused on what is known as NAFTA’s rules favoring the growth of the oil industry.
The group Council of Canadians has pointed out that there is no mention whatsoever of “Climate Change” in the US president’s new agreement. Scott Vaughan, from the Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development, said the provisions for the environment in the agreement were just for show. Ben Beachy, of the U.S. Sierra Club told reporters this agreement will allow U.S. and Canadian companies to continue to exploit weaker environmental rules in Mexico.
The Sierra Club predicted the deal would “harm millions of people across North America, affecting paychecks for workers, medicine costs for cancer patients, and air quality for communities grappling with lead pollution” earlier this month. The environmental group issued a “crystal ball” preliminary assessment that predicted the new Trump agreement would ignore climate change. Ben Beachy, who’s the Director of the Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program, called the anticipated deal “a shameless and dangerous handout to corporate polluters like Exxon and Chevron.”
Meanwhile, President Trump is patting himself on the back calling the deal a win because of his “negotiating skills.” The president went on to proclaim the agreement “historic news” that will end up in a boon for the US economy. Trump said he lived up to a campaign promise and attributed the success of this deal to his “hard-nosed negotiating tactics and his willingness to impose new tariffs.” Speaking at a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, the president added:
"This new deal will be the most modern, up-to-date and most balanced trade agreement in the history of our country with the most advanced protections for workers."
In an interesting twist, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference on Monday alongside Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, where Trudeau thanked just about everybody involved in the trade deal except Donald Trump.
Trudeau's failure to mention his counterpart is significant most likely due to the heated war of words he and Trump had as US-Canada relations plummeted when Trump imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel. Back then Canada retaliated with tariffs on $16.6 billion in US goods. Trump now says he and the Canadian PM have a “great relationship, “ quipping that tensions between the two ended “at about 12 o’clock last night.”