Free trade with higher wage countries & the China card

Free trade with higher wage countries & the China card May 15, 2015

As Democrats make a political point of rejecting the free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership–to the point of defying the Democratic President–Charles Lane clears up the disinformation being spread about the treaty.

He says that, contrary to the rhetoric,  it won’t lose American jobs by sending industries to lower-wage countries.  Our biggest partners in this agreement, who would open their markets to us, would be Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.  All of which pay  higher wages than the United States!  There are low-wage countries in the pact, such as Mexico and Peru, but we already have free trade agreements with them!

Also, in a column criticizing Hillary Clinton for being silent on a treaty she helped to create, Robert Kagan gives the underlying strategic reason for the Trans-Pacific Partnership:  forging an alliance to counter China.

From Robert Kagan, Clinton’s cowardice on trade – The Washington Post:

Another key element is solidifying and advancing a free-trade regime that binds the United States closer to its European and Asian allies. In Asia, especially, this is more than just a trade issue, although the United States stands to benefit from a well-negotiated agreement. It is, above all, a strategic issue. The United States and China are locked in a competition across the spectrum of power and influence. Militarily, the Chinese seek to deny American access to the region and hope thereby to divide the United States from its allies. Economically, China would like to turn Asia into a region of Chinese hegemony, where every key trade relationship is with Beijing. In such a world, the United States is a net loser — providing costly security to allies but not much else, while China reaps the economic rewards and grabs the hearts and minds, and pocketbooks, of regional players.

Experts on Asia, Democrat and Republican, consider the TPP trade agreement an essential element of U.S. strategy in Asia. On no other issue is there more bipartisan consensus within the foreign policy community.

 

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