In recent decades, economic, political, and technological barriers to international trade and investment have collapsed around the world. This rapid globalization of commerce has lifted many out of poverty in developing countries, but due in part to a lack of meaningful labor and environmental standards and enforcement, it has also resulted in an outsourcing of production and jobs as well as downward pressure on workers’ real wages in developed countries such as the United States.
The key trade agreements and international institutions put in place to manage globalization, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), have failed to rebalance the rules to enable globalization to work on behalf of all workers—not just in the United States, but in Mexico, China, and more broadly. And in many cases, the trade rules have exacerbated economic pressures on many U.S. workers.
For years, progressive voices in the United States have called for efforts to make globalization work better for working families, communities, and the environment. Now, the Trump administration has sought claim to the trade reform mantle. Those claims, however, should be met with skepticism. Read More