In a reversal of a long-held bias in favor of free trade agreements, the New York Times Editorial Board published a stinging critique of past trade pacts and warned the Obama administration against making similar mistakes in a pair of massive trade deals currently under consideration.
“This [NYT editorial] page has long argued that removing barriers to trade benefits the economy and consumers,” wrote the Times before adding an understated but significant acknowledgement. “But those gains have not been as widespread as we hoped, and they have not been adequate to assist those who were harmed.”
The widely-read NYT editorial goes on to specifically cite problems with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the pending deal with the European Union.
Among the issues that need to be addressed are the secrecy and lopsided influence of corporations in the current negotiations and the push to give multinational investors the power to sue foreign governments over policies they dislike, including health, labor and environmental regulations.
“From the lack of enforceable labor and environment standards, to the devastating loss of jobs in U.S. manufacturing and agricultural sectors, we have long been aware of the dark side of these free trade agreements,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “It’s frustrating that it took the New York Times so long to change its position, but we nonetheless welcome their conversion.”
Click here to read “This Time, Get Global Trade Right.”