Wednesday, December 28, 2016

NAFTA is dead Long live Super NAFTA

One of the reasons Trump won was a campaign promise to scrap and renegotiate international trade deals like NAFTA. What he didn't say was that the renegotiated deals will probably be worse than the originals.
In his campaign Trump raised a long list of complaints against our trading partners, most importantly China. The list includes managing currency values to preserve a trade surplus, inadequate market access to our firms, and the failure to respect U.S. copyrights and patents, most importantly on prescription drugs.

Given his announced appointees, it seems very likely that he will prioritize the demands that serve corporate interests, not U.S. workers. In particular, he is likely to continue the push of prior administrations for longer and stronger patent protections on prescription drugs.

It is these protections that make drugs expensive….The industry has placed a priority of making people in developing countries pay more for their drugs. This both blocks off a potential source of cheap drugs to people in the United States and prevents the sort of dramatic contrasts that we see today between the list price of [brand name drugs] and their generic version. It is likely that Trump will adopt the pharmaceutical industry’s agenda in this area. This is bad news for workers in the U.S., and obviously very bad news for people in the developing world.

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