Trade agreements are difficult to come to an equitable agreement on and difficult to access. The Transpacific Partnership agreement involves 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
It is interesting to take note of the fact that China is not part of this trade deal. The President argues that if we, the United States is not part of the negotiations between these countries, China would take advantage of our lack of engagement and work out their own deal that would be more advantageous to them. A lot of the world’s population is in the area where the 12 countries reside. China is the real elephant not in the room because of their use of cheap labor, unsafe work standards and environmental laxness.
A myriad of issues are involved, among those issues are trade, globalization, jobs, currency manipulation, intellectual properties, environmental issues, labor issues and work place safety.
It is interesting to note that there is a fight going on among Democrats, especially Progressives who seem to have a problem with most trade deals. Progressives have legitimate concerns about whether more jobs will be lost. Progressives are speaking out for some of their constituencies against the deal. This is interest group politics. Unions see the potential loss of more jobs to other countries while some Progressives and Democrats argue that export jobs pay higher wages and that the agreement must go forward if the United States is to compete in the world’s economy.
Republicans in general argue that trade is part of free enterprise and tend to vote in support of new trade deals.
It seems that Progressives have a problem with globalization. It is understandable, as the world has changed. Automation and globalization are of concern to many of us, but one can not deny the reality, the time to fight globalization and automation has disappeared, that train has left the station . Parts of things are made all over the world. A person has a hard time going to work in a town in America where the product is made in it’s entirety in that town or in America for that matter. Some goods the United States can not compete any longer on making because of the cheap labor available.
With any trade deal there are winners and losers. The important thing is to continue to do well in what we do best. If American made cars are now going to be sold in Japan that is a good thing. If pigs and pork products that are produced in Ohio can now be sold abroad without a 100% tariff in another country or more, our farmers are better off. If the tech corridors in Massachusetts and Virginia are better off as a result of this trade agreement we have won. There will always be some losers and winners. The question is whether we are better off than we were before.
Education and job training are still key to help keep American competitive. Ignoring the reality of globalization won’t help our economic strength. Job preparation for our workers is of the utmost importance. We must be prepared for the future and job training must be part of the equation if we are to remain strong as a nation.