Trump's Dumb Job-Killing Protectionism

If NAFTA dies, American jobs will too


Donald Trump, a proud America First protectionist, derided NAFTA as the "worst trade deal ever." But even as exercises in protectionism go, the poison pills that he injected in the latest round of

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NAFTA negotiations are the dumbest ever, I note in my column at The Week.

Most people were afraid that when Trump threatened to drive a tough bargain to get a better deal with Mexico and Canada, he meant that he would try and use America's massive clout to get them to open their own remaining protected industries without opening America's. That would have been bad enough. But he has gone way beyond that.

He wants to impose tougher rules-of-origin requirements that would force manufacturers to source components from North America and America. In addition, he wants a sunset clause that would allow either country to reopen the treaty every five years if its trade deficit with the others gets too out of whack. Worst of all, in the name of "Hire American, Buy American," he wants to kill NAFTA's ban on giving preferential treatment to domestic companies for government contracts.

These demands are complete deal breakers for Mexico, Canada—and even the U.S. industry. It seems that Trump is not trying to get a "good" deal for America, he wants no deal. He wants to kill NAFTA.

But along with NAFTA will die an untold number of American jobs, the exact opposite of what he says he is trying to accomplish.

Go here to read the whole thing.