Fletcher in the News

Progressives in Congress Side With Trump on Trade: Prof. Klein Discusses with PRI's The World

Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro was at the US Capitol when the North American Free Trade Agreement, which governs trade rules among Canada, Mexico and the US, was signed into law 24 years ago.

DeLauro, who represents Connecticut’s 3rd District, an area in and around New Haven, opposed NAFTA from the start, fearing that the trade deal would cost her state, and the nation, jobs...

...Talk like that has many corporate leaders and economists worried. Economists have warned that tearing up NAFTA would be somewhere between damaging and catastrophic to the North American economy.

Michael Klein, with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, points out that nations enter into trade agreements to benefit society as a whole; otherwise they wouldn’t do them. But he understands why NAFTA has been so vilified.

“People who are hurt by trade are often hurt proportionally more at an individual level than the people who benefit,” said Klein. “If there’s import competition and you lose your job, that’s a really big thing. If you can now buy a car from abroad that saves you a couple thousand dollars, that’s a good thing, but that’s not of the same magnitude as losing your job.”

But Klein, who is also the executive editor of EconoFact, an online publication written by economists that tackles economic issues and social policies, adds that NAFTA has brought many more benefits than just cheaper cars or affordable fruits and vegetables to grocery shelves year-round.