It’s not CRAFTA it’s NAFTA on the Knoll

In an attempt to understand global trade agreements, Frau Fiber  brought together, fellow makers on the Penland campus for a reading and labor song-sing-along.


Frau’s Formal statement was read as follows:

The process of barter brings a people together.

New ideas, along with precious goods have always travelled along trade routes. And the natural the shared rhythm of a community, has frequently been the space between market days.  When travel is slow and dangerous, the commodities must be imperishable; and they must have valuable in relation to their size.  Historically commodities such as spices, textiles and precious ornaments of iron, bronze, copper, silver and gold were the good of trade.

Trade has occurred over land, river and sea.

The silk road, linked Asia and Western Europe; Caravans traversed the middle east; the Mediterranean provided a ferry system shuttling goods between India and the Greek islands.  The Romans, Vikings, French, British and Americans, all participated in the trade of slaves, to provide their civilizations with a workforce.

Today the World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

Today’s trade agreements are contractual arrangements between states.  They consist of Bilateral or multilateral, between two states or more than two states.  Trade is regulated by unilateral barriers of several types; tariffs, nontariff, quotas and prohibitions.  Trade agreements reduce these barriers, there by opening all parties to the benefits of increased trade.

In 1974 The Multi-Fiber Agreement was instituted.  The Agreement was welcomed by many countries for setting targets for increased trade through slightly higher agreed minimum growth rates and more progressive liberalization of textile trade.

The MFA’s first years of existence saw the conclusion of a significant number of ‘bilaterals’, mainly between the US and Europe.  Over the ensuing years, the time-bound MFA was renewed on various occasions, notably in 1977, 1981 and 1986. MFA was terminated in 2004.

The Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) heralded the much-anticipated beginning of the formal process for the removal of global quotas on textiles and clothing. As a WTO Agreement, it was binding on all its member states, although it would soon become clear that the practical implementation of the Agreement sometimes lagged behind its theoretical prescriptions. The inherent flexibility of the Agreement, provided countries with substantial leeway in the actual implementation and interpretation of its clauses.

The TMB an 11-member quasi-judicial textile monitoring body appointed by WTO member countries, was established to supervise compliance with the provisions of the ATC. The TMB was system representation from various geographical regions: Europe, United States, Canada and Norway, Korea and Hong Kong, India, Egypt/Morocco/Tunisia, Japan, Turkey, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Latin American and Caribbean, Pakistan and China.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA is a three-country accord negotiated by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States that entered into force in January 1994. NAFTA’s terms, which were implemented gradually through January 2008, provided for the elimination of most tariffs on products traded among the three countries. Liberalization of trade in agriculture, textiles, and automobile manufacturing was a major focus. The deal sought to protect intellectual property, establish dispute-resolution mechanisms, and, through side agreements, implement labor and environmental safeguards.

NAFTA fundamentally reshaped North American economic relations, driving an unprecedented integration between Canada and the United States’ developed economies and Mexico, a developing country. NAFTA enjoyed bipartisan backing—it was negotiated by Republican President George H.W. Bush and passed through Congress and implemented under Democratic President Bill Clinton. It encouraged a more than tripling of regional trade, and Cross-border investment between the three countries also grew significantly. Yet NAFTA has remained a perennial target in the broader debate over free trade, largely because it is accused by some as leading to a shift in production, and jobs, to Mexico.

When negotiations for NAFTA began in 1991, the goal for all three countries was the integration of Mexico with the highly developed, high-wage economies of the United States and Canada. The hope was that freer trade would bring stronger and steadier economic growth to Mexico, providing new jobs and opportunities for its growing workforce and discouraging illegal migration from Mexico. For the United States and Canada, Mexico was seen both as a promising new market for exports and as a lower cost investment location that could enhance the competitiveness of U.S. and Canadian companies. NAFTA ushered in a new era of regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), which have proliferated as the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) global trade talks have stagnated. The United States now has FTAs with twenty countries.  NAFTA also pioneered the incorporation of labor and environmental provisions in U.S. trade agreements.

Economists largely agree that NAFTA has provided benefits to the North American economies. Regional trade increased sharply over the treaty’s first two decades, from roughly $290 billion in 1993 to more than $1.1 trillion in 2016. Debate persists regarding NAFTA’s legacy on employment and wages, with some workers and industries facing painful disruptions as they lose market share due to increased competition, and others gaining from the new market opportunities that were created.

Critics of the deal, however, argue that it is to blame for job losses and wage stagnation in the United States, and a widening trade deficit.  This surge of imports caused the loss of up to 600,000 U.S. jobs over two decades, though they admit that some of this import growth would likely have happened even without NAFTA.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) TPP is a deal between the U.S., Canada, and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region that’s been under negotiation for nearly a decade. It is a new, high-standard trade agreement that levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses, supporting more Made-in-America exports and higher-paying American jobs. By eliminating over 18,000 taxes—in the form of tariffs—that various countries put on Made-in-America products, TPP makes sure our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small businesses can compete—and win! With more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders, TPP will significantly expand the export of Made-in-America goods and services and support American jobs.


TPP is expected to:

  • TPP Eliminates over 18,000 Different Taxes on Made-in-America Exports
  • TPP Includes the Strongest Worker Protections of Any Trade Agreement in History
  • TPP Includes the Strongest Environmental Protections of Any Trade Agreement in History
  • TPP Helps Small Businesses Benefit from Global Trade
  • TPP Promotes E-Commerce, Protects Digital Freedom, and Preserves an Open Internet
  • TPP Levels the Playing Field for U.S. Workers by Disciplining State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)
  • TPP Prioritizes Good Governance and Fighting Corruption
  • TPP Includes First Ever Development Chapter
  • TPP Capitalizes on America’s Position as the World Leader in Services Exports

Time will tell……

We have heard from the voice of economist and the US government, now  we will hear our voices and the voices of labor with a sing – a- long.


Hard Times – Ryan Bingham

When I was young my daddy said, Son
Never be ashamed of where your from
There’s nothin wrong with your last name
Don’t be lookin for people to blame

Cause hard times they come and they go
Most of the time they’re in the middle of the road
It’s the same pain in different ways
Don’t your know, Son, when it pours it rains


Hard times
In the middle of your road
Hard times
Creepin up on the good folks you know
Hard times
You daddy wakes up and you lit the stove
Hard times
From the California hills to the Coverdale Road

You got yours and I have mine
Mostly good folks have tried and tried
To make a livin on your minimum wage
Your coming up short nearly every day

And what’s enough and what’s the cost
You can’t stand up cause all is lost
You roll us up and your doors are locked
There’s a poor boy livin on every block


When I was young my daddy said, Son
Never be ashamed of where your from
There’s nothin wrong with your last name
So don’t be lookin for people to blame

Cause hard times they come and they go
And most of the time they’re in the middle of your road
It’s the same pain, different way
Don’t your know when it pours it rains

And it’ll always be around
Followin you from town to town
But you can get up when it puts you down
Cause everybody’s got ’em if you look around



Ain’t No More Cane

Ain’t no more cane on the brazos
Oh, oh, oh, oh…
Its all been ground down to molasses
Oh, oh- oh, oh- oh…

You shoulda been on the river in 1910
They were driving the women just like they drove the men.

Go down old hannah, don’cha rise no more
Don’t you rise up til judgment day’s for sure

Ain’t no more cane on the brazos
Its all been ground down to molasses

Captain, don’t you do me like you done poor old shine
Well ya drove that bully til he went stone blind

Wake up on a lifetime, hold up your own head
Well you may get a pardon and then you might drop dead

Ain’t no more cane on the brazos
Its all been ground down to molasses.


Joe Hill

A song by Alfred Hayes, Music by Earl Robinson©1938 by Bob Miller, Inc.

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you’re ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he

In Salt Lake, Joe, says I to him
Him standing by my bed
They framed you on a murder charge
Says Joe, But I ain’t dead
Says Joe, But I ain’t dead

The copper bosses killed you, Joe
They shot you, Joe, says I
Takes more than guns to kill a man
Says Joe, I didn’t die
Says Joe, I didn’t die

And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Joe says, What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize
Went on to organize

Joe Hill ain’t dead, he says to me
Joe Hill ain’t never died
Where working men are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side
Joe Hill is at their side

From San Diego up to Maine
In every mine and mill
Where workers strike and organize
Says he, You’ll find Joe Hill
Says he, You’ll find Joe Hill

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you’re ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he



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