President Barack Obama’s goal to double U.S. exports between 2010 and 2015 is “in danger of failing” because of his lack of commitment to free trade, says Matthew Slaughter, who was a member of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers.
U.S. real exports expanded 11.1 percent in 2010 and 6.7 percent in 2011, he writes in The Wall Street Journal
. But they gained only about 3.5 percent for the first 11 months of last year.
“On current trajectories, by 2015 America's exports will be far short of the president's five-year-doubling target,” says Slaughter, now a business school professor at Dartmouth College.
With sluggish economic growth and a steady dollar, the U.S. needs to push hard for trade liberalization to shore up exports, he maintains. “Yet how many new U.S. free-trade agreements were negotiated and ratified during President Obama's first term? Zero. How many new agreements look likely to be negotiated and ratified in 2013? Zero.”
That’s just not going to cut it. What we need are free trade agreements with key countries and in crucial industries, Slaughter says. “Why not negotiate a China-U.S. free-trade agreement?”
The service sector is where the U.S. has a clear advantage. So, “why not negotiate a global free-trade agreement in major service industries like consulting, entertainment and software?” he suggests.
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