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Posts Tagged ‘NAFTA’

3 Key Trade Trends the U.S. Can’t Ignore

May 8th, 2013

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When America debated the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, Groundhog Day – a film about doing the same things over and over – was a box office hit. Since then, our trade debates have often been like Groundhog Day, with trade supporters and critics repeatedly recycling well-worn talking points. But before everyone dusts off old scripts for upcoming debates about trade deals with Asia and Europe, it’s worthwhile to consider what America might learn from more recent trade developments – especially those currently happening outside the United States.

Three trends in global trade highlight why it’s more vital than ever that America continue to play a strong role in writing robust rules for trade.

1. America’s Not the Only Game in Town. As America works to conclude a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and to ramp up new trade talks with the European Union, it’s important to remember that other major economies are also pursuing a bevy of new trade deals.

There are already hundreds of trade agreements in force among groups of countries that don’t include the United States, with many more under negotiation. The EU, for example, is negotiating agreements with Canada, India and Japan. And China, Japan and South Korea have begun talks on a pact that would boost trade among the world’s second-, fourth- and twelfth-largest economies. These three countries – together with 13 regional neighbors – are also negotiating a massive Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that would tie together 16 countries with a combined GDP of over $26 trillion.

For the United States, the implications of growing trend are clear – if we don’t continue to engage in developing new norms for global trade, global competitors like China surely will.

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Misconceptions About Trade Agreements

April 13th, 2011

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This piece was originally published in The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. and Colombia appear near a deal on a trade agreement. With this deal and others move closer to congressional debate, Ed Gerwin, Senior Fellow for Trade and Global Economic Policy at Third Way, and Jon Cowan, president of Third Way, point to five misconceptions about trade agreements.

Later this year, the Obama administration and Congress will seek bipartisan votes to pass free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. With 87% of global economic growth over the next 5 years taking place outside of the United States, trade supporters believe these agreements will create jobs and prosperity by helping American companies tap into fast-growing export markets.

Opponents disagree. They argue that “NAFTA-style” trade agreements hurt rather than help the U.S. economy — and polls show that much of the public agrees.

But is this conventional wisdom correct? Or do trade deals work? As Washington gears up for hard-edged debates about trade, it’s worth exploring some common misconceptions about free trade agreements.

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