In desperate need of a fresh distraction, Donald Trump decided that Monday was the perfect day to announce his new trade deal with Mexico. Though there's no deal. Negotiations actually appear to be only a bit further along than Trump's "deal" for North Korea to denuclearlize, and most of what's in the proposal is a thin coat of paint over the NAFTA agreement that Trump has railed about for years.
What's is in Trump's Half-ta agreement? According to the Washington Post, it requires that for a vehicle to count as "American made," more of it has to be made in America, but that can include Mexico. And the wages paid on at least part of that construction have to be higher, but not as high as the wages already paid to US workers. All of which makes the deal sound as if it could potentially be a good thing for Mexican auto workers " though it's not clear how it creates a job or a dollar of wages in the United States. Unless, of course, US automakers use it as an excuse to argue for still lower "entry level" wages.
Still, there are some genuinely good things in the proposed deal. The agreement would include environmental regulations that address the crisis of marine life along Mexico's Pacific coast. It would include improvements in international copyright law. It would include more rights for Mexican workers to organize, even as Trump and Republicans are chopping away at labor rights at home.
If these changes sound familiar, it's because they've all been seen before.
These provisions were all part of the TPP, which Mexico and Canada both signed onto after Trump took the United States out of that deal.
Trump attacked NAFTA and the TPP, but his new proposal weds the two together. Experts predict that the proposal is likely to "make cars and trucks more expensive for American buyers," in exchange for "more North American jobs." But again, those jobs could far more easily be on the other side of Trump's nonexistent wall.