Tags: Free trade | agreement | president | union

Free Trade Frees Our Entrepreneurial Spirit

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Thursday, 28 May 2015 11:42 AM Current | Bio | Archive

If you're a comic book fan, you may remember the occasional issue of Superman when Superman enters Bizzaro World, where everything is opposite.

Well, President Obama finds himself in Bizarro World, where only 14 senators in his own party voted to give him fast-track trade authority. This authority would give the president the power to negotiate trade agreements from a position of power and get the U.S. the best conditions. This includes the pending Trans Pacific Partnership, which would involve 11 countries and would compromise some 40 percent of global economic output.

So why would Democrats vote against fast-track authority? They'd rather support the labor unions that give them money than support their president and the national economy.

People who diminish the importance of free-trade agreements need to recognize the benefits that accrue for the U.S., especially by reducing tariffs that U.S. exporters must pay, which makes them less competitive. When free-trade agreements reduce tariffs, good things happen.

U.S. goods arriving in foreign markets face an average tariff of 5.9 percent, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Enabling Trade Report 2014. That's more than four times the U.S. level, but tariffs often average in double digits in emerging markets, particularly for key U.S. manufactured goods and agricultural exports. On the other hand, countries exporting to the U.S. face minimal or zero tariffs.

Need more proof that free-trade agreements work? When the U.S. has access to markets under the most favorable conditions, exports have increased by:
  • 415 percent with Chile (trade pact in 2004)
  • 111 percent in Canada ((trade pact in 1994)
  • 378 percent with Mexico (trade pact in 1994)
  • 90 percent with Australia (2005)
  • 84 percent with Singapore (2004)
  • 74 percent with Central America (2006)
  • 61 percent with Peru (2009)
  • 42 percent with Colombia (2012)
  • 26 percent with Panama (2012)
If this isn't compelling enough, these trade agreements have netted millions of good-paying U.S. jobs, even as they introduce citizens in other countries to American principles of free enterprise. In addition, free-trade agreements have been instrumental in improving the standards of living in partner countries, and have a major positive impact on the environment, reducing intellectual property theft and corruption.

I'm tired of hearing from unions that contend that free-trade agreements send jobs overseas. This is a myth promulgated by ignorance.

The truth is that exports supported approximately 9.7 million jobs in 2011. And the Small Business Administration estimates that 97 percent of all exporters are small businesses, which also happen to be the nation's job creators.

For example, NAFTA, attacked by trade unions as a job killer, could not be further from the truth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. manufacturers added more than 800,000 net jobs in the four years after NAFTA was implemented.

In recent decades, lower tariffs have stimulated U.S. productivity through greater competition in the marketplace and have brought wider product choices to U.S. consumers. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, this has translated to "a gain in annual income of about $10,000 per household."

Congress and every American need to recognize that trade unions demonize trade agreements as a way to justify themselves and to collect dues.

Granting fast-track trade authority is good for America and good for our trade partners. Is there any household that wouldn't like $10,000 in new income? Is there any household that would not want to keep adding to this windfall?

If your representative doesn't support free trade, they don't deserve your vote.

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NealAsbury
If you're a comic book fan, you may remember the occasional issue of Superman when Superman enters Bizzaro World, where everything is opposite.
Free trade, agreement, president, union
579
2015-42-28
Thursday, 28 May 2015 11:42 AM
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