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Free Trade Agreements Good Or Bad

Rob`s comments on job loss are not supported by the actual data. Last year, total private sector employment in the United States, non-farm jobs, increased by 2.6 million, and the unemployment rate rose from 5.5% to 4.9% — a level that most economists consider to be almost full employment. Yet Rob proposes that U.S. trade with the other 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries cost us 2 million jobs during this period! It is time to reorient international trade and economic relations in the United States. We must put an end to unfair trade practices, such as currency manipulation, which are the main cause of U.S. trade deficits and trade-related job losses. The United States must develop a results-based approach to trade negotiations, which aims to rebalance world trade and ensure that the benefits of trade are widely shared and not passed on to those with the greatest wealth and power in our society. Trade pacts strengthen U.S. political and strategic interests beyond commercial benefits. Remember that the first U.S. free trade pact was concluded with Israel in 1985 and is a cornerstone of U.S.-Israel relations.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership will similarly strengthen relations between the United States and the Asia-Pacific region. It reassures our allies that the United States is a reliable partner that continues to engage in a region facing North Korean adventurism. Given that Congress is considering a major new trade pact with Asia, there is broad public consensus that international free trade agreements are good for the United States. But fewer Americans are expressing positive views about the impact of trade agreements on their personal finances. “Policy makers tend to talk about trade in mercantilist terms. So, “good exports, bad imports,” said Susan Ariel Aaronson, a professor at George Washington Elliott School of International Affairs. “But the truth is that in the United States, you can`t produce anything without imports.” “Adjustment in local labour markets is remarkably slow, as wage and labour market participation rates remain low and unemployment rates rise for at least a decade after the trade shock in China. On the other hand, opinion on the impact of free trade agreements on wages has not improved since 2010. Currently, 46% say that free trade agreements reduce the wages of American workers, while only 11% say they lead to higher wages (33% say they make no difference). The share that says trade agreements drive down wages has remained largely unchanged since 2010, when 45% said they had lowered wages. As a result, unilateral trade liberalization makes perfect sense.

Reality: the only beneficiaries of trade restrictions are inefficient companies and special interests working to protect them from competition.