Think Trade Agreements Don't Affect You? Think Again...

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The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was actually mentioned for the first time this year in a political debate. The GOP's debate on Wednesday was more entertainment that actual debating. However, for one small glimpse, trade agreements were giving a spotlight. Why do trade agreements matter? Let me tell you why.

[Reposted from OpedNews |  Paola Casale |  October 31, 2015]

International trade agreements is what makes our companies in the U.S. grow. It opens up their consumer market and can sell to consumers in the U.S. as well as other countries. Political leaders have attempted creating so called "free trade agreements" which are an attempt to drop tariffs and duties at the borders in order to encourage trade. However, since 1994, when the great North American Free Trade Agreement passed, we realized that these "free trade agreements" aren't free at all.

By starters, negotiating with a lower wage country that has less labor and environmental regulations, creates a temptation for companies to move overseas and take advantage of that. That is exactly what happened with NAFTA. Dozens of auto manufacturers moved south. They had the opportunity to make their autos by paying people $4 an hour instead of $57 an hour. They didn't have to face all of the expensive labor and environmental regulations and can ship their cars made in Mexico back to the U.S..

Have you visited Detroit recently? It is basically a ghost town. Detroit was known as the Motor City. It was at one point the 4th largest city in the U.S. However, when NAFTA hit, Motor City went to Loner City. Now, Detroit is bankrupt. Is NAFTA fully to blame? Probably not, but it sure can be held accountable.

Similar outcomes came from NAFTA-style trade agreements there-after. It's as if we are the ones being cheated out of these "free trade" agreements. These countries should know that we are the biggest consumer nation in the world! If anything, they should be begging us for a free trade agreement, instead of us being fools and begging them for one!

We are begging? Yes. President Obama has been negotiating the TPP since 2005. He has been negotiating this deal in complete and utter secret. When news leaked online regarding this trade deal, he received a lot of push back from Americans who have been scarred by NAFTA-style agreements. Did he stop? No, he continued negotiating until October 4th, where his wish was granted and the TPP was wrapped up.

However, these past 10 years of negotiations, the public has been left completely in the dark. The only reason why a handful of groups and organizations even knew about the TPP was because of Wikileaks who would lead chapters of the TPP. Mainstream media failed to report on it and to this day fails to continue reporting on it.

Trade affects us. Trade affects you and me. The more awful "free trade agreements" that our leaders pass, the more our wages remain stagnant, the more cheap goods come in, the more our jobs are shipped overseas, the more our economy hurts. Trade matters. Trade needs to be a major issue during this presidential campaign.

Very few candidates on the GOP side have talked trade. Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee have been the most noisy regarding the TPP. During Wednesday's debate, Trump made it clear that the TPP won't work unless it has strong language against currency manipulation. Huckabee also went off regarding the TPP after the debate stating that he "wouldn't trust Obama to negotiate the purchase of a couch of Craig's List."

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton just recently jumped on the bandwagon of not supporting the TPP. This comes after months of being dead silent regarding her position. She was a major advocate of the TPP while she was the Secretary of State, but she knows that in order to win over more democrats, she must not support the TPP.

People of America, I urge you to get informed regarding the TPP. Don't listen to the lies that our leaders are trying to shove down our throats. Look at the fine details behind every pro TPP argument. Trade is good. Trade is GREAT. However, this isn't true free trade. What is? I don't think anyone has that answer, but what I do know is that NAFTA-style agreements hurt us. So why do we continue passing them?

Joseph H. Defrees said that "if it's not in the interest of the public, it is not in the interest of business." Let's make trade our interest. Let's make the TPP our interest. Then maybe, our leaders will take interest and actually represent their constituents.

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  • commented 2015-11-13 08:28:39 -0500
    Since the US did not participate in TPP negotiations until February of 2008 and Obama wasn’t sworn in until January of 2009, it isn’t possible that “President Obama has been negotiating the TPP since 2005.” I suspect you meant to type “2009.”
  • commented 2015-11-03 10:03:46 -0500
    As an advocate for workers dignity, local and value added economies and real free enterprise system since 1992, online since 1998, we have thousands of references related to free trade economics and its disastrous affects on our economic day.

    Free trade economics is not trade with the free market reserved for only a few.

    In 1992, as a trouble shooter supplier to major corporations for computers and other computer components, I studied many tech bulletins and documents to find ways to resolve supply problems related to quality and standards. Free trade was in bloom and many manufacturers were finding it difficult finding the proper components. Free trade has changed the way things were being done. Foreign components did not follow any standards and by the time one item was field tested and qualified for production, the part no longer existed. Foreign manufacturers in many cased revised the item several times within a testing period without adding a new product code. It was very frustrating for all involved. The U.S. manufacturers who sought for zero defects production were dwindling away. I knew things would be changing and what we had was gone.
    This was the setting when I came across a computer sourcing magazine which told about the new Maquiladora factory program in Mexico. U.S. manufacturers were invited to move their factories to Mexico to take advantage of 40 cents per hour workers. For about a dollar per hour, a U.S. manufacturer did not even have to worry about moving anything. Mexican contractors did it all. So many factories were just closing down in our country and setting up production in Mexico for a fraction of costs than in America. We all know what happened. The process backfired with millions of workers and businesses having to quit because they could never compete under these conditions. I also new it would be the end of my business which I had enjoyed for more than twenty-five years serving companies nationwide and as far as China. I had sold Chinese distributors diagnostic, calibration, components and even vintage mainframe computers. When free trade kicked in President Clinton and his free trade policy gave our technology away for free to China.

    What took more than thirty years of research and development suddenly in quick fashion was moved out of our country. In 1992, just between IBM and ATT / NCR computers more than 250,000 workers lost their jobs. And this is when I began my advocacy for workers dignity, local and value added economies and real free enterprise system. Free trade came as a theif in the night and stole our American Dream away. Based on several experts in the field I predicted the coming of our economic and social crisis in 1994. In 1995, President Clinton had to rush billions of dollars to Mexico to save the peso and the Mexican economy. Free trade economic failed early. It was an indicator of things to come. In 2008, President Obama had to bail out the whole process by borrowing trillions of dollars from future generations. See more at ray-tapajna-tapsearcher.page.tl ray-tapajna-info.page.tl tapsearch-master-site.page.tl with a summary of our sites, articles and studies. Our original website which is now a history of free trade failures is at tapsearch.com/tapartnews
  • commented 2015-11-03 09:58:14 -0500
    Hi Paola Casale. I strongly agree with all you said about past trade policies and the current TPP. But at the end of you commentary you say that “I don’t think anyone has the answers”. This statement is not true because Michael Stumo and Harry Moser have the answers but we badly need a newly appointed USTR to get to the answers. I will give you a hint to some of the many things that we know that should be done. #1 Bring forth the Balanced Trade Agenda that includes the variable rate tariff especially with China, Japan, South Korea and Mexico. #2 Bring forth TPP provisions that stops all currency manipulation and merchantilism. #3 Shut off the free flow of illegal labor at the US border. This is undermining all union-labor-wage negotiations and contracts of the middle class workers. #4 Bring predatory capitalism back under control in both Wall St. and Washington. #5 We must all vote to end the “extend and pretend” corruption regimes trends that are running rampant through out our society. “The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men”. Plato.