Tags: Forbes | free-trade | agreements | economy

Steve Forbes: Adopting Free-Trade Agreements 'Will Strengthen Our Economy'

By    |   Friday, 10 April 2015 10:09 AM

Forbes Media Chairman Steve Forbes is a staunch advocate of free trade, and he urges the White House and Congress to push through new trade agreements with Europe and Asia.

Those are the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"In today's globalized 21st-century economy, it's critical to strengthen relationships with our global trading partners," Forbes writes in an article for Investor's Business Daily.

"Adopting TTIP [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership] and TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] will strengthen our economy by removing barriers to new markets and increasing exports as well as foreign direct-investment in America."

Free-trade agreements benefit both American businesses and workers, Forbes argues. The White House estimates TPP would lift American exports more than $120 billion a year by 2025 while creating 650,000 jobs in the U.S.

"For the U.S. economy, which is starving for high-paying jobs, this trade agreement is a no-brainer," Forbes says.

"In addition to promoting U.S. commercial interests, FTAs [free-trade agreements] have advanced key policy and societal goals by exporting the higher U.S. standards concerning labor, working conditions, the environment, corruption, drug trafficking and democratic reform."

If TPP isn't completed, it would "hurt American workers, our economic output and our long-term ability to compete in the global marketplace."

Meanwhile, the U.S. government's mismanagement of global economic policy is leading to a major erosion of influence, says former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, now a Harvard professor.

"This past month may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system," he writes in The Washington Post.

"I can think of no event since Bretton Woods comparable to the combination of China’s effort to establish a major new institution and the failure of the United States to persuade dozens of its traditional allies, starting with Britain, to stay out." He was referring to the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank.

"Political pressures from all sides in the United States have rendered the global economic architecture increasingly dysfunctional," Summers states.

Conservatives have blocked International Monetary Fund governance reforms, and liberals have
hampered infrastructure projects, he explains.

"With U.S. commitments un-honored and U.S.-backed policies blocking the kinds of finance other countries want to provide or receive through the existing institutions, the way was clear for China to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)," Summers writes.

Two important solutions in Summers' eyes: bipartisanship and focus on the middle class.

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Forbes Media Chairman Steve Forbes is a staunch advocate of free trade, and he urges the White House and Congress to push through new trade agreements with Europe and Asia.
Forbes, free-trade, agreements, economy
Friday, 10 April 2015 10:09 AM
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