The Protectionists Hold a Hearing

By April 19, 2007Trade

Yesterday in the Senate, Sen. Byron “Smoot” Dorgan (D-ND) held a hearing on whether “free trade is working,” focusing mainly on trade agreements. One of the witnesses was fellow protectionist Sen. Sherrod “Hawley” Brown (D-OH). Luckily they were offset by trade expert and NAM alum Christoper Wenk who actually was armed with the facts, showing that trade agreements create jobs for Americans. Doncha just hate it when the facts don’t jibe with the hysteria? Dorgan, don’t forget, is also hyping his widely-panned book of (mostly) fiction and hype. (For the record, we think it’s crass to use a public forum to shamelessly hype your [widely acclaimed]book.)

The growing protectionist tide among the Democrats is most troublesome, threatening the prosperity and growth of thee economy. But hey, it sells at campaign time, right? The plain truth is that trade creates jobs and prosperity. Recall that 100 Democrats voted for NAFTA — which also created jobs — but only 15 voted for CAFTA last year. And in the year since CAFTA passed, we’ve gone from a $1 billion trade deficit with those countries to a $1 billion trade surplus. That’s a $2 billion swing in one year. Hard to see how that costs jobs.

And when all else fails, just check out this chart. It’s pretty clear that our trade deficit is with countries with which we have no trade agreement. Trade agreements open markets to US-made goods.

Byron? Lou? Are you listening?

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Joe Dragon says:

    So let’s see a little NAFTA information Pat (Hufbauer) Cleary.

    A year after NAFTA passed, the U.S. trade surplus had vanished. From 1995 through 1998, we ran $20 billion trade deficits with Mexico. From 1999 through 2005, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico grew every year, from $27 billion in 1999 to last year’s $54 billion.

    Where Hufbauer and Schott had predicted $100-plus billion in trade surpluses with Mexico from 1994 to today, NAFTA delivered some $400 billion in cumulative U.S. trade deficits. A $500 billion mistake by the crack Hufbauer-Schott team.

    Now granted they were only off by $500 billion (small change for NAM) still it’s a sizable amount for most of us.

    Your “stretched” data concerning non FTA countries should probably reflect that China is responsible for more than 200 billion of that 223 number- doncha think?