It’s official. With the trade data just released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. trade balance in manufactured goods with CAFTA (Central American and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement), has registered a $2 billion trade surplus. This is a sharp reversal from the pre-CAFTA situation, where in the years before the passage of the CAFTA agreement we averaged an annual manufactured goods trade deficit of about -$1.5 billion.
This agreement is the one that isolationist organizations have called “the job killer.” Just before the Congressional vote on CAFTA, one of these groups pronounced, “Like NAFTA, CAFTA is just another outsourcing agreement that will devastate U.S. manufacturing…CAFTA is a continuation of the failed NAFTA policy that drives our rising trade deficit and mounting job losses.”
This was always a silly statement, because the CAFTA countries already had one-way free trade into the U.S. market. The big deal in CAFTA was that in exchange for making their access to the U.S. market permanent, they would eliminate their trade barriers to Made-in-the-USA products. How we could lose in such a deal is beyond me.
Now the facts are in, showing that logic once again prevails over mythology. Far from being a “job killer,” CAFTA has been a real plus for the United States – as has NAFTA, another trade agreement for which these isolationist organizations have been unable to read the trade statistics.
American manufacturing faces some real problems – but CAFTA and other trade agreements are not among them. It would be nice if these anti-trade groups would ‘fess up and acknowledge they were dead wrong, but that probably is too much to hope for.
Congressional Representatives and Senators are besieged by lobbyists advocating various positions on trade. I hope that our elected representatives will start demanding of all lobbyists, “show me the data.” The NAM would be happy to comply.
Frank Vargo is Vice President for International Economic Affairs of the National Association of Manufacturers.
Latest posts by Carter Wood (see all)
- Farewell from a Blogger - May 25, 2011
- Activist Ignore Evidence to Back Shakedown Suit Against Chevron - May 25, 2011
- More than a Lawsuit: A Circle of Political Pressure Against Chevron - May 25, 2011