With Bill Clinton's election in November, the side issuesenvironment and labor–became central. Candidate Clinton, pressed by George Bush to take a stand on NAFTA, had come down in favor of the agreement, but to soften the blow to Democratic supporters, he had promised to supplement it with additional agreements on labor and environment before he would submit it to Congress for approval. Now in office, he made good on his campaign pledge, demanding new negotiations with Mexico and Canada. The United States's international negotiating partners grudgingly acceded.
At the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the hope initially was to complete the talks in the spring, so that NAFTA could be submitted to Congress in the summer, but the task proved too difficult to complete so quickly. The United States took most of the spring to decide what it wanted, in part because this was new territory for international trade negotiators, in part because sharp internal differences made establishing a national negotiating position a matter of intense political conflict, and in part because the first months of the Clinton administration were so chaotic. Clinton's new trade representative, Mickey Kantor, found himself trying to navigate through the narrowest of openings, even before formally engaging with Mexico and Canada. In May, the United States tabled its first negotiating position, a position calculated to satisfy enough Democrats sympathetic to labor and environmental interests to win Congressional approval. But the U.S. position met with strong opposition from Mexico and Canada and at
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Interpreting NAFTA: The Science and Art of Political Analysis. Contributors: Frederick W. Mayer - Author. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 165.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.