Anti-trade activists — beyond NAFTA

Trade critics, sensing blood from the populist success in the presidential primaries, are moving beyond NAFTA to call for a crackdown on investment provisions in trade agreements, on China’s currency and a review of its World Trade Organization commitments.

An article in The Guardian quoted Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach, the head of the United Steelworkers union, and Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown on what’s next on their trade front. The “why stop with NAFTA” crowd has bigger prey:

Similar reforms are needed in other trade agreements, including the one that set the terms of China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, she said. Wallach blamed NAFTA, China’s WTO accession and other trade agreements for many of the roughly 3 million manufacturing jobs the United States has lost since 2000.

Of course, those manufacturing job losses have much more to do with technological changes that increased productivity and reduced workforces than with increased trade. Commenting on the anti-trade sparring of Senators Clinton and Obama in the primaries, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab — stealing some lines from anti-trade campaigns — said that represented “a rhetorical race to the bottom.”