Pacific Ties Not an Economic Solution
The passing of the free trade agreement with South Korea (KORUS FTA) at the end of 2011 was certain to create an outflow of American jobs over the next several years. The drastic increase to the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea in 2012 is proof that the KORUS FTA was not job creating deal Washington pretended it to be. Unfortunately, the same fundamental flaws that make free trade disadvantageous for the U.S. in the KORUS FTA are now being pushing in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
China is currently the largest trade partner with most Asian nations. The Chinese economy has globally prospered in part because of its dominance within these competing economies. Eager to flourish, these other countries are looking toward the United States as a way to rescue them from complete and utter dependence.
Advocates of free trade argue that the United States needs to strengthen ties in these countries. This is the theory upon which they hope to establish the misguided Trans-Pacific Partnership: building healthier relationships in Asia and providing economic growth for struggling countries along the way.
Where do the people of the United States win here?
These motives do not seem to reflect the needs of the struggling American job market. The problems that are nurturing the recession at home are shockingly similar to the ones being faced by these other Asian countries. China’s stronghold on trade may begin in Asia, but its scope has ravaged American manufacturing and business for all that it’s worth.
Furthermore, even if the U.S. was to enter into a Trans-Pacific Partnership, we would still not be able to compete with the price of goods in China. Companies can still produce for far cheaper in China than they can in the United States. American-made products are already passed over regularly right here at home, because the Chinese-made competition is cheaper. What is there to make foreign countries want to spend more on an import from the U.S. than one from China?
Ultimately, the countries in Asia are just looking for a way to strengthen their economies by exporting more goods over here to America. Free traders in the U.S. are looking to deepen their own pockets by opening up more borders for cheaper production abroad. In the midst of this, it is the American worker that is lost; it is the middle class that will suffer; and it is the U.S. economy that will fall flat.