Korea Free Trade Agreement

Trade Deficit Declines by -5.1% for September 2012

The U.S. September 2012 monthly trade deficit declined by -5.1%, or -$2.25 billion. August's trade deficit was revised down by -$427 million, which gives a 3.1% monthly increase instead of the originally reported 4.1%. While the press touts the lowest monthly trade deficit since December 2010, the reality is September gives the second largest China trade deficit in history.

Trade Deficit for May 2012 - $48.7 Billion

The U.S. May 2012 monthly trade deficit declined $1.91 billion to $48.68 billion. This is a 3.78% monthly decrease in the trade deficit, all due to reduced imports. Exports decreased $359 million, or -0.20%. Imports declined $1.55 billion, which is a -0.67% decrease from April. The decline in oil prices is the reason the trade deficit shrank for the month.


Is Korea is a long way away?

The proposed South Korea Free Trade Agreement has nothing to do with free or fair trade. It’s managed trade as defined in over a thousand pages filled with favors and exceptions for some special interests, while imposing obligations and restrictions on the beleaguered American manufacturing sector. It had been slated for "fast track" passage with the backing of the Obama Administration, establishment Republicans, and multi-national corporate interests. Early February was mentioned as a target for an up or down vote. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), head of the trade subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, even wants "free trade" deals with Korea, Panama, and Colombia to pass together.

Now that's in doubt.

When I recently interviewed Ian Fletcher, Adjunct Fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council about the pending agreement - which will be published shortly in the Jacksonville Florida Observer - he noted that President Obama will "unlikely avoid serious debate on this agreement, and I personally doubt whether it will pass.  The public is getting more skeptical of free trade every day. An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll in September 2010 found 53% of Americans believing free trade agreements hurt the U.S., with only 17% believing them beneficial; the split had been 30% vs. 39% percent in 1999."