Tags: free trade | pacts | threat | TPP

Free Trade Pacts Under Threat from Right and Left

Monday, 16 Dec 2013 07:26 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Two major trade pacts are under threat as tea party opposition to them is rising, making it harder to guarantee support from within the Republican Party.

Grass roots conservatives believe the deals with Europe and the Far East will risking jobs within the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports. They are pushing Republicans to join with liberal Democrats in opposing the deals

Even though 77 percent of Americans surveyed do not oppose trade deals, both liberal and conservative lawmakers worry that any kind of trade pact will shift more manufacturing jobs overseas where labor costs are less expensive, the Journal reported.

Local tea party groups blame NAFTA for the loss of auto jobs to Mexico and oppose Obama administration efforts to reach a trade pact with Asian-Pacific countries.

The liberal Economic Policy Institute attributes the loss of nearly 700,000 jobs to NAFTA.

There is bipartisan concern led by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus over Asian car manufacturers supported by their governments using their currencies to gain competitive advantage against American auto makers.

These qualms from disparate political camps could make it difficult to build a Congressional alliance in support of an Asian-Pacific agreement and a deal with Europe, the Journal reported.

Talks on the Trans Pacific Partnership broke up last week without agreement and will not restart until the New Year.

Republican Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisiana supports a trade deal saying it creates work for Americans. "In 2011, trade exports and imports of goods and services with TPP countries supported an estimated 14.9 million American jobs," Boustany said, according to the Voice Of America.

Analyst Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics which favors a deal said that half of Congressional Democrats can be expected to oppose a trade pact. That would require three-out-of-every-four House Republicans to support the Obama administration, The Journal reported.

Previous trade deals were aimed at cutting tariffs to encourage more imports and exports. The purpose of the Pacific pact now being negotiated is to ease trade by making government regulations consistent from country to country, VOA reported.

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