Lori Wallach

Lori Wallach is the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.


Recent Articles

Confused About the Status of NAFTA Renegotiations? Join the Club

More important than whether a NAFTA deal can be reached with Canada is whether the terms of any new deal will stop NAFTA's ongoing damage.

(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
On August 31, the administration sent a formal notification to Congress that starts the countdown to a vote on an agreement that could replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). After a 90-day waiting period required by the “fast-track” procedure , an agreement could be signed on November 30, not coincidentally the last day in office for the current Mexican president. This would set up a U.S. congressional vote in the first half of 2019. Much of the media coverage since the notice has focused on the legal and political uncertainties related to the fact that, so far, the United States has only concluded a deal with Mexico. Indeed, the formal notice indicated “intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico—and Canada, if it is willing—90 days from now.” Negotiations with Canada continue this very day, Wednesday, in Washington, D.C. Canada rejoined talks last week after disengaging in May over opposition to U.S. demands that a new deal...

Speaker Ryan Dives In to Save NAFTA

At stake: job outsourcing benefits for corporate America

Against all odds, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations launched by the Trump administration in August 2017 were heading towards an outcome that could have generated support from Democrats in Congress, unions, and Public Citizen. NAFTA’s job outsourcing incentives and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) regime were on their way out. The timeline to finish talks for a vote to occur this year was looming in June, due to the requirements of Fast Track negotiating authority. The corporate lobby was apoplectic. Many issues remained under discussion. Dairy market access, intellectual property rules, labor standards, and even the de minimis value for a shipment to trigger NAFTA’s customs rules were unresolved. But to the horror of legions of lobbyists, U.S. negotiators were making progress on major changes to NAFTA that labor wanted and corporate American opposed. Enter Speaker Paul Ryan and the House Republican leadership. Last week Ryan abruptly...

Will Trump Really Give Us a Better NAFTA?

It depends on how much influence the corporate lobby has in the final deal, and it’s not over.

(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)
Renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are moving at warp speed, with a fourth round of talks underway this week in Washington. In a startling role reversal, the Chamber of Commerce called an emergency news conference last week to attack the U.S. agenda as “ highly dangerous .” In response, progressive Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio announced that “it’s about time USTR took the pen away from corporate lobbyists and started writing trade policy that puts American workers first. Any trade proposal that makes multinational corporations nervous is a good sign that it’s moving in the right direction for workers.” Brown and many other longtime critics of NAFTA are reserving judgment until there is a final deal to review, while urging the administration to secure an agreement they can support. Progressives are understandably concerned about where a final deal may land given that the president could be kindly described as a walking...

A Stealth Attack on Democratic Governance

Why are Obama trade negotiators pushing the extreme Trans-Pacific Partnership, and why is it being negotiated in such an untransparent manner?

AP Photo
It takes quite a “trade” agreement to undermine financial regulation, increase drug prices, flood us with unsafe imported food and products, ban Buy America policies aimed at recovery and redevelopment, and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards before tribunals of corporate lawyers. Trade, in fact, is the least of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Backdoor deregulation and imposition of new corporate investor and patent rights via trade negotiation began in the 1990s with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). But the TPP now threatens a slow-motion stealth attack against a century of progressive domestic policy. At stake is nothing less than a democratic society’s ability to regulate a market economy in the broad public interest. Under the framework now being negotiated, U.S. states and the federal government would be obliged to bring our existing and future policies into compliance...