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Bernie Sanders Has a Message for Trump on Trade

April 29, 2019

As workers’ rights have become a focus for the 2020 presidential campaigns, Senator Bernie Sanders has called on President Donald Trump to protect those rights in the deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but whether that can happen and if it will be a boon for agricultural and auto workers in the U.S. remains to be seen.

Sanders was speaking at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich., at a campaign rally on April 13 when he said “the NAFTA treaty that Trump re-negotiated with Mexico will still allow companies like General Motors to send our jobs to Mexico.”...

He said Trump has only “pretended to be a fighter for workers…and his attempts to renegotiate NAFTA, which contains giveaways to pharmaceutical corporations and still lacks real enforcement of worker protections, shows that he’s rolled over to corporate outsourcers and pharmaceutical corporations.”

But there may be procedural limitations to take into account.

Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Council of the Americas and Americas Society, told Fortune Sanders’ call may not even matter. Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) have said “publicly and repeatedly that the negotiated text is closed.”

Farnsworth noted there may be some room to change the way the legislation is implemented or to amend with certain “side understandings…but efforts to re-open the text itself would be strongly resisted and likely end in frustration.”...

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