Obama's Mexico Visit Spotlights Division among Democrats
4:35 PM, Apr 16, 2009 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
One of the topics to be addressed today by President Obama and his Mexican counterpart is the unilateral violation of NAFTA signed into law by Obama:
Obama canceled the trucking program as a sop to the Teamsters, who strongly oppose any effort to reinstate it. Nevertheless, the Obama administration claims that it intends to push aggressively to restore the program they canceled. And just in case that doesn't happen, Obama is attempting to improve strained relations by enhancing cooperation on border security and drug interdiction.
That sounds good, except for the fact that some in Congress want to escalate the low-level trade skirmish between the U.S. and Mexico into a full-blown trade war. Congressman Pete DeFazio (D-OR) for example, led the effort to cancel the truck program -- and his district is significantly affected by the retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico on imported U.S. Christmas Trees. DeFazio wants to see the tariffs removed -- but not by restoring U.S. compliance with NAFTA. Instead, he wants to blackmail Mexico into removing them by denying them U.S. help in fighting the drug war:
It's not clear how Obama is going to resolve this festering problem. The smarter course would have been to not have violated NAFTA in the first place.