Monday, 05 November 2018
What’s Wrong With the USMCA?
Written by Christian Gomez
By making “Americanism, not globalism” the centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidency, sending shockwaves throughout the United States and cold chills through the globalist elitists who comprise the Deep State. Trump’s election highlighted the American people’s rejection of globalist “integration” schemes, such as President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, helped to negotiate in her capacity as secretary of state during Obama’s first term.
To the Deep State, however, the election of Donald Trump represented a threat to their aspirations for a “new world order,” or “world order 2.0,” as Richard N. Haass, president of the pro-world-government Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), fondly calls it in his book A World in Disarray.
Globalists’ fears were shortly justified when three days after his inauguration, President Trump issued a memorandum directing the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to withdraw the United States as a signatory to the TPP and “to permanently withdraw the United States from TPP negotiations.” Understandably, in light of Trump keeping his campaign promise on this topic, the Deep State became anxious at Trump’s repeated threats to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) amid the renegotiation talks with Mexico and Canada.
Unfortunately, with the NAFTA trade talks concluded, those with a propensity for reading trade pacts have found it is the American people who should be concerned with the renegotiated NAFTA — renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Building on the previous North American Free Trade Agreement, the USMCA represents the next globalist step toward the economic integration of the United States, Mexico, and Canada into a European Union-style arrangement, or North American Union. The USMCA “ends” or “kills” NAFTA only in the sense of pushing forward toward more globalist integration, rather than away from it toward a policy of national sovereignty. In other words, it leaves step one of regional integration because it takes us to step two.
The USMCA is being championed as a “better deal” by President Trump, and if Americans don’t show their disapproval, the Deep State may ride the Trump train to congressional approval for the USMCA and derail American sovereignty in the process. Both President Trump and USTR Robert Lighthizer (shown), a veteran CFR member, have touted the USMCA as a model of all future trade agreements, underscoring its importance.
While it is possible that Congress could vote on the USMCA in the lame-duck session, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated otherwise, indicating that the incoming 116th Congress will address it in 2019. “That will be a next-year issue because the process we have to go through doesn’t allow that to come up before the end of this year,” McConnell said on Bloomberg Television on October 16, 2018.
After less than two years of negotiations, the USMCA was released early on October 1, 2018 on the USTR website for the public to read. It runs for 1,809 pages — 1,572 pages for the treaty chapters, 214 pages for additional annexes, and 23 pages of side letters. Obviously, the mammoth size of the agreement should set off alarm bells that much more is involved than “free trade,” which should mean the absence of government intervention.
Of course, President Trump does not see it that way — at least not yet. “This is a terrific deal, for all of us,” he announced later that morning from the Rose Garden. “Once approved by Congress, this new deal will be the most modern, up-to-date, and balanced trade agreement in the history of our country, with the most advanced protections for workers ever developed.” Taking the president’s words at face value, one might think that NAFTA is dead and that the USMCA is a huge win for America that will safeguard its national sovereignty. Unfortunately, his rhetoric belies the reality. The pact is even worse than NAFTA regarding undermining American sovereignty and self-determination, in favor of North American integration extending beyond trade to include labor and environmental policies. It is, in fact, so bad that the globalists who had lambasted Trump for renegotiating NAFTA praised him afterward.
“A Very Progressive Trade Agreement”
A top-ranking member of Canada’s socialist government, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, touted the USMCA as “a very progressive trade agreement,” which, according to the Canadian Press news agency, was “aimed at ensuring the benefits of trade-fuelled economic growth are more equitably shared among citizens in the three countries.” The agreement is “very progressive,” according to Freeland, and is intended to equally redistribute the wealth it generates among the citizens of all three countries — as if the United States hasn’t already provided enough incentives under NAFTA for companies to move to our neighbors.
Similarly, Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. Congress have also heaped adulations on the agreement. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — Freedom Index score of 15 percent — congratulated the president, saying that Trump “deserved praise” for his efforts to “improve” NAFTA. “As someone who voted against NAFTA and opposed it for many years, I knew it needed fixing. The president deserves praise for taking large steps to improve it,” Schumer said. He added that his final support for the USMCA would largely depend on dairy and labor provisions. “Labor provisions are good, but too often they are written into trade bills and never enforced,” Schumer said. “If a final agreement is signed by all three countries, I also look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to write ‘implementing legislation’ to ensure the deal actually achieves these goals,” he said.
Likewise, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said, “The final deal must remove the current outsourcing incentives, raise wages for American workers, and include strong labor and environmental standards with swift and certain enforcement mechanisms for Democrats to approve it.”
She wants a lot and to do little: If the USMCA is the vehicle to implement these changes, Congress is unconstitutionally delegating its powers to foreigners.
She further praised Lighthizer for his work on those areas, saying, “I appreciate United States Trade Representative Lighthizer’s sustained efforts to address some of these concerns throughout this renegotiation.” After examining how “very progressive” the new USMCA is, as Freeland touted, Democrats like Schumer and DeLauro will not be disappointed.
Among some of the new chapters included in the USMCA that were not in the original 1994 NAFTA are chapters on labor and the environment. The USMCA’s Chapter 23 on “Labor” subordinates the United States to the International Labor Organization (ILO), affirming all three countries’ commitment to the ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) andDeclaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization (2008).
Article 23.3 of the USMCA’s Chapter 23 obligates each country to “adopt and maintain in its statutes and regulations, … the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.” It is unclear how such provisions could conflict with states that have “right-to-work laws,” potentially opening the door to their abolition or repeal either through the USMCA’s implementation legislation or a future decision from a USMCA dispute resolution panel.
International regimes have already sought to overturn U.S. domestic laws in the name of “free trade.” In 2008, when Congress amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require meat products such as beef and pork sold in the United States to have country of origin labels (COOL), Canada claimed the law violated WTO (World Trade Organization) rules. As a result, Canada and other countries, including Mexico, took the United States to arbitration under a WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). The WTO DSB ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico stating that they could retaliate by imposing over $1 billion in tariffs on U.S. products unless the United States repealed the law. On June 10, 2015, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted 300 to 131 in favor of repealing COOL, in compliance with the WTO DSB’s decision. COOL’s repeal was also included in the $1.4 trillion omnibus-spending bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in December 2015.
In the interest of “freeing world trade,” a supranational tribunal of the WTO ruled against the freedoms and rights of every American to make an informed decision about where the beef, pork, or chicken products they wish to purchase and eat come from. In light of the USMCA’s strong labor provisions in favor of the “right to collective bargaining,” who’s to say that the same could not happen to U.S. right-to-work laws?
Sujata Dey, a trade campaigner for the Council of Canadians, said the USMCA’s labor provisions are “better than the original NAFTA,” despite what she described as their lack of “enough teeth to really fight against the globalizing impulses which are bringing wages down and bringing in more inequality.” Such “teeth” could be added in the form of Congress’ USMCA implementation legislation. In the case of the auto industry, at least 40 percent of automobiles made in North America will have to be made by workers earning a minimum of $16 per hour, which is significantly higher than the current average wages for autoworkers in Mexico. The original 1994 NAFTA did not contain such wage provisions. While such wage requirements for traditionally low-wage paying countries such as Mexico might seem good for Americans, these wage regulations set a bad precedent. For example, this opens the door for the creation of transnational wage regulations — a power that even the U.S. Congress should not be exercising and does not possess under the U.S. Constitution.
Although the USMCA does not include a separate chapter on gender-related issues, as was originally outlined among Canada’s goals, such language is sprinkled throughout the labor chapter, further advancing the LGBTQ agenda. For example, under “Sex-Based Discrimination in the Workplace,” in the USMCA’s labor chapter, all three countries are required to promote and “implement policies” protecting “gender identity.” And under Article 23.12, all three countries agree to cooperate on “addressing gender-related issues in the field of labor and employment,” as well as on “addressing the opportunities of a diverse workforce, including: … promotion of equality and elimination of employment discrimination in the areas of age, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity … and protection of migrant workers.” (Emphasis added.) In other words, if a man applies for a job and goes to the interview dressed as a woman with a demand to be addressed as if he were a lady and demonstrates even the mildest aptitude to do the job, the employer would be required to hire that individual or risk a lawsuit. Unfortunately the same protections are seldom applied to victims of “Christophobic,” or anti-Christian, discrimination.
Chapter 23 of the USMCA could also serve as a beachhead for a cross-border migration invasion similar to that experienced in the European Union. In language that is virtually identical to that found in the TPP, Article 17.5 of Chapter 17 of the USMCA states: “No party shall adopt or maintain … a measure that … imposes a limitation on … the total number of natural persons that may be employed in a particular financial service sector or that a financial institution or cross-border service supplier may employ … in the form of numerical quotas or the requirement of an economic needs test.” This opens the door for Mexico and its incoming radical socialist government or for a Mexican, a Canadian, or even a U.S.-based company to sue the U.S. government for restricting the number of employees that such a company would want to bring across the border into the United States. As well, provisions from USMCA’s Chapters 17 and 23 have the potential to undermine President Trump’s border security measures and further open our nation’s borders. Article 23.8 on “Migrant Workers” requires each country to “ensure that migrant workers are protected under its labor laws, whether they are nationals or non-nationals” of the country they are residing in. (Emphasis added.)
Such provisions could also further serve to help Democratic lawmakers retain President Obama’s unconstitutional executive action for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly known as DACA. In fact, any adjudication on this matter could very well fall under the judicial jurisdiction of a USMCA bi-national panel for dispute resolution, rather than under the legal control of the United States.
Nascent North American Union
The USMCA also contains language that will undoubtedly be exploited to merge the three countries into a regional economic union, much like the EU — language that non-globalist Republicans fought against in the past. In June 2015, then-Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) exposed how buried within the still-secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership’s more than 5,500 pages was language for creating an entity similar in makeup to what he described as a “nascent European Union” — he was referring to the TPP Commission. He said, speaking from the Senate floor: “Even more significant to me is that it [the TPP agreement] creates something that is a non-trading entity, a commission, a transPacific international commission.” He explained: “This commission will meet regularly. It will be … entitled to make the TPP say different things, eliminate provisions it does not like, and add provisions it does like. In fact, the commission is required to meet regularly and to hear advice for changes from outside groups and from inside committees of the commission so that they can update the situation to change circumstances.”
Delving deeper, Sessions further elaborated, “It says it is designed to promote the international movement of people, services, and products — basically the same language used to start the European Union.”
Everything Sessions said about the TPP could also accurately be said about the USMCA. Chapter 30 of the USMCA establishes the creation of a “Free Trade Commission,” which is broader in scope and power than the original 1994 NAFTA Free Trade Commission. According to Article 30.2, the USMCA reads, “The Commission shall”:
(a) consider matters relating to the implementation or operation of this Agreement;
(b) consider proposals to amend or modify this Agreement;
(c) supervise the work of committees, working groups, and other subsidiary bodies established under this Agreement;
(d) consider ways to further enhance trade and investment between the Parties;
(e) adopt and update the Rules of Procedure and Code of conduct; and
(f) review the roster established under Article 31.8 (Roster and Qualifications of Panelists) every three years and, when appropriate, constitute a new roster.
In other words, the USMCA’s Free Trade Commission can make changes to the agreement itself, implement changes to the agreement, change the rules by which it operates, approve who serves on its lower subordinate committees, and oversee the work of those committees like an international bureaucracy or government — all without the consent or approval of Congress. The Free Trade Commission will also oversee committees on Agricultural Trade, Rules of Origin and Origin Procedures, Textile and Apparel Trade Matters, Customs and Trade Facilitation, Technical Barriers to Trade, Government Procurement, Transportation Services, Financial Services, Telecommunications, Intellectual Property Rights, State-Owned Enterprises and Designated Monopolies, the Environment, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Issues, North American Competitiveness, Good Regulatory Practices, and Private Commercial Disputes.
The committees will meet regularly or on an annual basis, depending on the committee, and like the Free Trade Commission, unelected government representatives from each of the three countries will comprise them.
Committees can propose changes or revisions to the chapter in the agreement that corresponds to their area. All of the committees’ work, discussions, findings, and recommendations are to be submitted to the Free Trade Commission for further consideration. And much like the TPP Commission, the Free Trade Commission can make changes to the agreement without the consent of Congress. In fact, the agreement completely undermines Congress’ constitutional Article I, Section 8 power to regulate trade with foreign nations, such as Mexico and Canada, and to impose tariffs on them should the need arise, as in the case of national security.
Tariffs to remedy problems would be out of U.S. hands. Steel and aluminum tariffs for national security such as those imposed by President Trump on Canada and the European Union are not permitted by individual EU member-states, states that are bound together by a regional entity similar to one that the USMCA would create to bind America. One of the purported aims of the EU was to avert another world war on the continent by making all of its member countries economically interdependent, meaning that even Germany’s and France’s national security is intertwined with that of the other EU member nations. The thought is that no single country in the EU should be able to be economically and, in turn, militarily self-sufficient, lest it become a threat to its neighboring countries and the continent as a whole. However, the very ideology hoisted to prevent the rise of another Nazi Germany may also prevent a European country from being able to defend itself from such a threat in the future.
Rather than preventing another Nazi Germany from arising, power is concentrated at the EU level. The same arguments in favor of the EU also work in reverse against the collective body. Furthermore, at the EU level, regulations have a direct and immediate effect on EU member states, and EU directives, which are a bit broader than regulations, set EU objectives, which the member countries are then expected to translate into new national legislation.
Individual European nations sacrifice or “trade” their individual autonomy and security — in turn sacrificing the freedoms of their citizens — to be part of a supposedly stronger whole. However, if one country chooses to leave the group, the other countries oppose it and try to stop it, as was the case with Brexit. Hence why membership in such transnational economic (and eventually political) unions is unquestionably more detrimental than beneficial.
Toward Global Union
Though there are often short-term economic advantages of “free trade agreements,” such as the USMCA’s new access to the Canadian dairy market allowing U.S. farmers to sell their cheese and milk products to Canadian retailers and consumers, the pluses pale in comparison to the long-term cost and consequences of losing national sovereignty — sovereignty lost to unelected and unaccountable transnational and global governing bodies that are far removed from the influence of the nation’s people.
In fact, a North American Competitiveness Committee is to be established with “a view to promoting further economic integration among the Parties” (i.e., the United States, Mexico, and Canada) and “enhancing the competitiveness of North American exports.” (Emphasis added.) It reads as though the purpose is to make the North American bloc competitive with other trade blocs such as the EU, ASEAN, and Eurasian Economic Union, but of course, this is simply a ploy by the Deep State to abolish the modern international system of sovereign nation-states to, in turn, replace it with a transitional world order composed of interdependent transnational unions, with the view of further global integration toward a socialistic one-world economic union. (See article on page 21.)
Entities such as the EU are dictatorial, with the executives in charge put in place by the world’s wealthiest, most influential people — hardly a situation that bodes well for individual rights and freedoms, or, as leftists claim to want, “democracy.”
Today the EU sees itself as a “post national” entity: It has its own flag, capital in Brussels, passports, foreign and diplomatic service, anthem (“Ode to Joy”), currency (the euro), central bank, supreme court (in the form of the European Court of Justice — ECJ), parliament, president, executive branch (the EU Commission, which elects the president), and constitution (the Lisbon Treaty). Despite what it may say, the EU possesses all the hallmarks of a nation state, but at a larger level, transcending the nation-states that make it up.
In the case of Britain, most of its laws come from or have been influenced by the decisions of the EU. According to a research study conducted by Business for Britain, “Between 1993 and 2014, 64.7 per cent of UK law can be deemed to be EU-influenced. EU regulations accounted for 59.3 per cent of all UK law. UK laws implementing EU directives accounted for 5.4 per cent of total laws in force in UK,” the report stated. Further elaborating, “This body of legislation consists of 49,699 exclusively ‘EU’ regulations, 4,532 UK measures which implement EU directives and 29,573 UK only laws.” British MEP (Member of the European Parliament) and leader of the pro-sovereignty United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage has repeatedly stated that “75 percent of our laws are made in Brussels,” the capital of the European Union. Regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of these laws, it should be Britons through their representatives in Parliament that make their nation’s laws, not a collection of foreign bureaucrats across the English Channel.
Britain’s recent Brexit vote to withdraw membership from the EU should serve as a wake-up call for Americans, as the U.S. government proposes entering into a similar transnational union. As the case of the EU shows us, America’s fight against globalism must be won before our globalist politicians cede away too much of our power.
The major steps in creating the EU were not met without resistance and reservation. In 1992, when Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty, that was not the end of Denmark’s membership in the union. Denmark was forced to continue voting on it until the result was a “yes.” At the time, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl told the Danes: “You are just a little people. You cannot dam the Rhine.” The same happened in Ireland. The Irish people rejecting the Treaty of Nice in 2001 following a national referendum. A second referendum was held a year later, which approved the treaty. The second vote was quickly accepted as final. To the EU’s ruling Deep State elite, it does not matter that the citizens of the countries in the European Union repeatedly vote against their country’s continued participation in the Euro-state project, the EU will force it on them.
The new USMCA’s Free Trade Commission fits the criteria of James Madison’s definition of “tyranny”: Writing in The Federalist, No. 47, Founding Father James Madison stated, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” The USMCA underscores the urgent need not only to get out of the original NAFTA but to likewise reject the USMCA and all other so-called trade agreements that erode American sovereignty through the establishment of transnational executive commissions and that subordinate the United States to international regimes such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and ILO.
A chapter in the USMCA puts emphasis on powers that America and Canada will give up, by highlighting powers reserved to Mexico. Chapter 8, entitled “Recognition of the Mexican State’s Direct, Inalienable, and Imprescriptible Ownership of Hydrocarbons,” simply states that “the United States and Canada recognize that”:
(a) Mexico reserves its sovereign right to reform its Constitution and its domestic legislation; and
(b) The Mexican State has the direct, inalienable and imprescriptible ownership of all hydrocarbons in the subsoil of the national territory, including the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone located outside the territorial sea and adjacent thereto, in strata or deposits, regardless of their physical conditions pursuant to Mexico’s Constitution.
That is great news for Mexico, particularly its political and energy sovereignty; however, no such chapter affirms the same recognition for the United States, or Canada’s sovereignty. In fact, Mexico’s constitution is the only constitution that any part of the USMCA affirms to be “pursuant to.”
Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the Mexican constitution gives its nation’s federal government power to regulate whole sectors of its economy: “hydrocarbons, mining, chemical substances, explosives, pyrotechnics, movie industry, commerce, bets, draw and raffles, intermediation and financial services, electrical and nuclear energy.” In the United States, the U.S. government has taken charge of many of these areas, especially energy, despite not being granted powers in those areas by the Constitution, and these sectors will likely be controlled by the Free Trade Commission through its subcommittees covering the Environment, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Issues, North American Competitiveness, Good Regulatory Practices, and Private Commercial Disputes.
Energy Integration or Sovereignty?
In the area of energy, the three countries are already merging. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an eye-opening report revealingly entitled “North American Energy Integration.” This 58-page report, which was discreetly posted on the GAO website in August, is intended for the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. The report outlines in detail the progress of eight U.S. federal government agencies and departments in integrating the energy sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
According to the GAO report, the “United States cooperates with Canada and Mexico on integrating North American energy markets and infrastructure (energy integration),” further elaborating, “Cooperation occurs at the presidential and ministerial levels (e.g., the countries’ secretaries or ministries of energy) for strategic issues and at the agency level for technical issues.”
In researching for its report, the GAO surveyed various U.S. government officials from the agencies involved in the energy integration scheme. According to those surveyed, a total of 81 energy integration-related schemes were conducted from 2014 through 2017. Those energy integration schemes are listed and summarized in Appendix III of the GAO’s report.
The report also stated that U.S., Canadian, and Mexican officials “expressed general satisfaction with intergovernmental cooperation on energy integration” and that they suggested “further work in areas such as aligning energy regulations.” (Emphasis added.)
Harmonizing energy regulations of the three countries would more easily facilitate their merger. The logical conclusion of these 81 energy integration schemes, and further work to synchronize the energy regulations of all three countries, is a North American Union, much like the present and already integrated European Union. Page six of the GAO report states: “NAFTA has enhanced North American energy integration, facilitating a greater flow of oil, natural gas, and petroleum-derived products among all three North American countries.” Although the report was published prior to the release of the new USMCA, it stated that then-ongoing NAFTA talks would have little effect on the efforts to integrate North America’s energy sectors. According to the report, “State and DOE officials we interviewed said they did not expect the U.S. renegotiation of NAFTA and withdrawal from the Paris Agreement to have a significant impact and stated that the energy sector in North America is already well integrated.”
Among the objectives of the North American energy integration plan is to merge the energy grids of all three countries into one single North American energy grid. In fact, page 43 of the GAO report discusses efforts to integrate the U.S.-Mexico energy grid and the need to “enhance the resiliency of the North American energy grid,” rather than referring to it as the energy grids of the three separate countries. (Emphasis added.) The question then naturally arises: Under whose jurisdiction would such a North American energy grid eventually fall? Would it be under Mexico, Canada, the United States, or that of an even higher transitional authority, such as the USMCA’s Free Trade Commission? At present, the answer is unclear, but one thing that is clear is that if the United States goes ahead with the USMCA, it will wreak havoc on America’s national sovereignty.
Can USMCA Be Stopped?
The USMCA can most certainly be stopped. It happened before with the TPP and Free Trade Area of the Americas, and it can happen again; however, the Deep State will not make it easy. The United States didn’t get on board with the TPP, even with a seemingly popular president — Obama — who lauded the globalist-controlled Deep State. Obama failed to convince much of his own liberal base to support the TPP. The TPP’s widespread unpopularity resonated in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, with both candidates, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Hillary Clinton, coming out against the agreement. On the Right, those who supported real free trade, such as Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), would later change their initial support to oppose the agreement. Most Americans, on both the Left and the Right, recognized the TPP as a direct threat to American sovereignty and jobs.
The road will be tough now that Trump, who called both the TPP and NAFTA a “disaster” and the “worst trade agreements in history,” heralds the USMCA as one of his many “promises kept.” But it can be done if people are informed that the USMCA is everything that Trump hated about NAFTA and the TPP, plus more — and that the real solution is to have Congress, not multinational or international entities, decide trade and other policies that fall within the enumerated powers of the Constitution.
It is up to us at the grassroots level, through organizations such as The John Birch Society and publications such as The New American magazine, to inform the electorate, opinion molders, members of Congress, and President Trump about what’s really in this USMCA agreement and the need to stop it, in addition to withdrawing the United States from the original NAFTA. Both NAFTA and the USMCA lay the groundwork for a North American Union and threaten our constitutional Republic. Now is the time to act.