During the decades since NAFTA the fair trade movement has scored many successes. We have used consumer power to force large corporations to better respect worker rights and have created markets for fair trade products. But we have not been able to stop unfair international trade agreements that consistently favor corporate and elite interests over those of workers and ordinary people.
Last year, we thought that a fair trade majority was finally staging a political comeback. A sea change in public opinion swamped the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the trade accord between eleven Pacific Rim nations. Bernie Sanders led the charge against the TPP. Hillary Clinton then flipped from support to opposition.
But Republican nominee, Donald Trump, who brazenly stole the fair trade language demagogued the issue, blaming Mexicans, and then rode powerful anti-establishment anger into the White House.
Now the TPP is dead, but Trump and his extremist advisors threaten the same workers, environmentalists, and popular movements that fought it. Our struggle has suddenly become more complicated and the stakes could not be higher.
Global Exchange is proud to be a working member of the California Fair Trade Coalition made up of labor, environmental, family farm, public health, immigrant rights, human rights, pro-democracy, and socially conscious business leaders — all committed to building a strong California and international economy that works for all.
At Global Exchange we have been urgently consulting with our long-standing partners in Mexico, Central America, and Canada to assess options for resisting the Trump agenda to protect workers and the environment, not the interests of transnational elites and their planet-destroying priorities.
At this critical time we will be working with the CA Trade Justice Coalition to host NAFTA Town Halls, educate and expand our membership base, and organize to counter the trade hypocrisy coming from the White House.