Good piece by wise man Bob Samuelson in today’s WaPo by the above title, rightfully fretting about the new growing hostile climate toward free trade. Says Samuelson:
“Just last week Democratic congressional leaders signaled that they may oppose new trade agreements with Colombia and Peru. Who, if anyone, would benefit is unclear. As The Post reported, the agreements’ darkened prospects have already led to layoffs in Colombia. In the United States, manufacturers believe the agreements would expand their exports. Peru’s tariffs average about 10 percent, Colombia’s about 11 percent, says Frank Vargo of the National Association of Manufacturers. Most of these would go to zero under the agreements.”
We’ve made this point here repeatedly: Trade agreement lower barriers to entry of US-made goods. That’s good for US manufacturers. It’s a multilateral world out there. As Samuelson points out. If we don’t negotiate trade agreements with these countries, other countries will. “If we take ourselves out of the trade negotiation game,” says one trade expert, “U.S. exporters will be the losers.” Those “US exporters” are our members, American manufacturers large and small.
In conclusion, Samuelson says, “The next Congress must decide whether it embraces the symbolism or the reality of trade. If it chooses symbolism, it will perversely harm many of the workers it’s trying to help.”
Lou Dobbs, are you listening….?
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