Three Free Trade Agreements passed the house yesterday with overwhelming support of the Tea Party Caucus and great opposition from the Democratic House members. The South Korea deal is the most consequential trade pact since the North American Free Trade Agreement was ratified in 1994. Great, how did that work our for us?
Alabama GOP Congressperson mostly supported each FTA. Our GOP Ag Commish has been cheerleading this for months.
When will we learn? Clyde Prestowitz summarizes our insanity (i.e. doing the same thing and expecting a different result.)
In trying to build public support for congressional ratification of Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, President Obama is telling audiences that “these agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs across the country for workers making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America”.
Why do presidents keep saying things like that? Do you remember when we were negotiating to bring China into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Clinton White House was asking Congress to grant Beijing permanent Most Favored Nation (MFN) treatment (meaning that for trade purposes we would treat China the same as our other trading partners)? At that time the United States had a modest trade deficit with China of about $10 billion. President Clinton and his top officials- U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, National Economic Council Chief Gene Sperling, and others – assured the Congress that the proposed deal with China would dramatically reduce this deficit and create thousands of new jobs for workers who made things in America. The argument at the time was that the United States would be the big winner because it would be China that would be making most of the big tariff cuts and market opening concessions. Of course, with the United States now running a $250 billion trade deficit with China, it’s obvious that things haven’t worked out as predicted.