On NAFTA - I told ya so gives me no joy

Well today Obama went to Canada and of course said nothing about our massive trade deficits with Canada or Mexico, instead saying we don't want to be that canard protectionist word.


"Now is a time where we have to be very careful about any signals of protectionism," Obama told a joint news conference after several hours of talks with Harper on his one-day visit to Ottawa.

"And as obviously one of the largest economies in the world, it's important for us to make sure that we are showing leadership in the belief that trade ultimately is beneficial to all countries," he said.

He stressed the United States would meet its international trade obligations and told Harper he wanted to "grow trade not contract it."

"I'm quite confident that the United States will respect those obligations and continue to be a leader on the need for globalised trade," Harper said afterward.

Below is a CNN report on Obama choice of USTR: a rabid bad trade promoter:

Here is The Nation demanding Obama keep his campaign promises, Eyes on Trade reminds us of all of the campaign rhetoric and Sirota notes that Canadians also want trade reform in NAFTA.

Previously I wrote many posts on how Obama's economic advisers were pure bad trade deal promoters and he was in fact promising nothing but making it appear like something during the campaign.

I'll bet Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Indiana just blew up their TV sets by throwing them through the window listening to this rhetoric today. If there are any states where U.S. workers desperately need trade agreements renegotiated, it's these and where Obama made the most promises in order to win elections.

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Wasn't it Ross Perot, back in 1992 that referred to "that sucking sound" in reference to NAFTA?:-)

other people read Obama differently

they are clearly nervous but not so condemning. I have watched Obama's economic advisers and what he says...and "worker and environmental standards" are the same blow off response that Robert Rubin spewed instead of fixing the real trade details so these are not glorified offshore outsourcing agreements and actually fair and encourage the trade of real products and are not arbitraging workers.

Canada's Not the Problem

No one is more concerned about the trade deficit than I, but I have to tell you that you're off base with your concern about Canada. Our trade deficit with Canada is due entirely to our imports of oil. Canada is our number one source of imported oil. We actually have a small trade surplus with Canada in manufactured goods, so no manufacturing jobs have been lost as a result of our trade with Canada. The problem with NAFTA is Mexico. I give Obama credit for not screwing up the highly beneficial trade relationship with Canada. Yes, any trade deficit is a concern, but to fix the deficit with Canada, we need to look to energy policy and population management, not trade policy.

Our trade deficit is an enormous problem, but we need to focus on the real root cause of the problem - the huge disparity in population density* between the U.S. and nations like China, Japan, Korea and Germany - to eliminate the deficit while preserving the many truly beneficial trade relationships we have with many other countries. In fixing this problem, we're going to need allies. It makes no sense to take a sledge hammer approach and end up angering everyone.

* For more info about the role of population density in driving our trade deficit, please visit my web site.

Pete Murphy
Author, "Five Short Blasts"

Canada & Oil

For the most part I agree and generally economies which are reasonably equal in PPP and GDP it's not that much of a problem because it is harder to labor arbitrage.

More I do not believe Obama and never have been given any indication that he will really take on trade policy beyond a few token clauses.

They gave away all of the jobs in a consumer based economy.

October 25, 1974
The new head of the Liaison Office, George Bush, arrives in China for talks with Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping.

January 1, 1979
U.S. and China establish full diplomatic relations.

April 10 , 1979
President Carter signs the Taiwan Relations Act, which legalizes new U.S. relationship with Taiwan.Under the bill, the U.S. essentially continues to treat Taiwan as an independent nation, sell it arms, lend it money, recognize its passports and grant its diplomats immunity from U.S. law.

Trade Act of 1974
The Trade Act of 1974 (actually enacted January 3, 1975 as Pub.L. 93-618, 88 Stat. 1978, 19 U.S.C. ch.12) was passed to help industry in the United States become more competitive or phase workers into other industries or occupations. It created fast track authority for the President to negotiate trade agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. The fast track authority created under the Act extended to 1994 and was restored in 2002 by the Trade Act of 2002.

They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

Trade Act of 1974

During the 70's the trilateral commission was issuing papers calling for the U.S. to transition to a "post-industrial service economy." We have seen the fruits of this think tank idea.:-)

that would make a very nice post

going through the history of how we got to this inane trade policy and who were the real "crafters".