Collins calls for new U.S.-Canada NAFTA

Jan 24, 2017

Clarence Congressman Chris Collins is calling for the United States to broker a bilateral deal with Canada as opposed to updating the three-party North American Free Trade Agreement.

Collins is a trade-skeptical Republican who was congressional liaison between lawmakers and Donald Trump's presidential transition team. On Monday he said that America's northern and southern neighbors don't belong in the same trade pact - pointing to Canadian wages and how they compare to those in Mexico. 

While he opposes trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership and NAFTA, he said he has no problem with auto-manufacturing crossing the northern border.

Collins made it clear that his preference for breaking up NAFTA was not the position of the incoming administration -- but added that he is not sure what that position may end up being.

It was New Year's Day 1994 when NAFTA was passed by Congress. Bill Clinton was in his first year in the White House and NAFTA was one of the most controversial events of the 1990s.

NAFTA was designed to break down the walls separating North American economies and let goods move freely across borders. The U.S. and Canada already had a free trade treaty. NAFTA brought in Mexico as well.

Critics - especially unions - predicted a massive loss of American jobs to low-wage Mexico. Clinton disagreed. In the end, most manufacturing jobs went elsewhere.