After decades of criticism and warnings from Republicans, Democrats are finally fed up with the strategy of globalization that defines the country’s trade policy.
Once again, Democrats find themselves echoing former President Donald Trump as 2024 elections draw nearer.
This time, they’re latching on to his “America First” policies that promoted more domestic production over global imports.
“Opening the U.S. market to imports from other countries can, and has disrupted domestic industries,” Representative Richard Neal (D-MA) said during a Ways and Means committee hearing.
“U.S. trade policies should not come at the expense of American jobs or the rights of workers at home or abroad,” he said, referring to the most recent update to NAFTA, also known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
His comments came after White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan lashed out at the World Trade Organization last month in a speech that questioned the role of markets in the global economy.
“In the name of oversimplified market efficiency, entire supply chains of strategic goods, along with the industries and jobs that made them, moved overseas,” Sullivan said.
“And the postulate that deep trade liberalization would help America export goods – not jobs and capacity — was a promise made, but not kept.”
He also targeted China, saying, ““We can’t wait for WTO reform. We have to be pursuing a range of other strategies to deal with the fact of China as it is.”
Still, the US Chamber of Commerce advised against leaving the WTO.
“Leaving the WTO would be a lonely course: Leaders of the world’s largest economies have reaffirmed their commitment to the organization — and to its reform,” the body wrote in 2020. “If the United States left the WTO, its members would be free to raise tariffs and other trade barriers against U.S. exports.”
But with increasing legislative focus on domestic production and American worker rights. it’s clear something has to change.