Trade war with Mexico: American protectionism at its worst

Last year, many Americans began to see the job-killing effect of this administration’s constant pandering to unions, and, it recently got worse.

To explain, let me take you back to 1993 when the U.S. Senate ratified NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Under this treaty goods are supposed to move freely across the borders of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.  In 1995, under pressure from the Teamsters, President Clinton banned Mexican trucks from carrying imports from Mexico into the United States.  In response, Mexico began negotiations with us…with no success…and, finally, in 2001 Mexico prevailed before a NAFTA “court”.  President Clinton’s ban did, in fact, violate NAFTA.

In 2007, President Bush “lifted” the ban on Mexican trucks transporting goods across our southern border.  The program was designed as a “test” for the purpose of determining the safety of Mexican trucks.  Even though the “test” determined that Mexican trucks were as safe as American trucks, one of the first things President Obama did as president was to abolish the test program established by President Bush.  Thus, we are, once again, in violation of NAFTA.

Mexico responded in March 2009 by putting tariffs of 10 percent to 45 percent on U.S. goods including vegetables, wine, juices, sunglasses and toothpaste.

According to Mexican Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari,

imports [from the United States into Mexico on the list of products that had the newly imposed tariffs] dropped 81% in the first year after the tariffs were imposed in March,2009…

A few weeks ago, Mexico upped the ante.

Washington state apples and California oranges and pistachios…will now cost 20% more in Mexico than they did…Cheeses from California and Wisconsin now face a 25% tariff…  [Additionally, new tariffs have been placed on] pork, ketchup, chewing gum, grapefruit, chocolate and dried fruit… [while keeping the tariffs on] pears, apricots, cherries, peas, almonds, potatoes and wines.

American businesses, growers and workers are clearly hurt by these tariffs.  At a time when we cannot afford to lose any jobs in this country, we certainly don’t need self-inflicted job losses that are little more than a poorly disguised attempt to protect the Teamsters union.

Obama campaign pledge #104 expires – NAFTA

This seems to be a weekly thing, if not more often. While pandering to unions and the left during the campaign, Obama clearly stated that the United States needed to revisit the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal since it was clearly not working.

Campaign pledge on Feb. 23, 2008 expires in 422 days. Hat tip to Jim Geraghty over at National Review Online.

Tim Russert: Senator Obama . . . Simple question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, “This has not worked for us; we are out”?

Obama: “I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton’s answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has been happening so far.” February 23, 2008

FINAL EXPIRATION DATE: “The Obama administration said on Monday that it had no plans to reopen negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement to revise its labor and environmental provisions, as then-Senator Barack Obama promised to do during his presidential campaign. “The president has said we will look at all of our options, but I think they can be addressed without having to reopen the agreement,” said Ronald Kirk, the United States trade representative. April 20, 2009

All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them.

Notice the emphasis in that debate — he will “make sure” the U.S. renegotiates NAFTA.

Hot Air also has the video. Ed Morrissey was right on top of this back on Feb. 20.