Obama to Push for "Free Trade" Agreement with Asia

Just when you think it can't get any more obvious, we get this:

President Barack Obama raised hopes for creating an Asia-Pacific free-trade region by announcing Saturday that the U.S. would seek to join a smaller group seen as a precursor to a broader Pacific Rim agreement.

News that the U.S. would participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, joining Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei, was announced in Tokyo and Singapore, drawing applause at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

"Significant steps like the TPP are important to help keep up the momentum in our efforts to realize the ... vision" to create a region-wide free trade area, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told other leaders at their weekend summit here.

There have been concerns that the U.S., the world's biggest economy, and other nations might turn inward as they grapple with the worst global financial crisis in decades.

Obama's move reinforced calls for expanding free trade rather than resorting to protectionist measures to cope with the recession. He pushed for progress on talks to liberalize world trade.

This trade agreement is called TPP.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Obama as saying:

The United States will also be engaging with the Trans Pacific Partnership countries with the goal of shaping a regional agreement that will have broad-based membership and the high standards worthy of a 21st century trade agreement.

Now, what does that mean? Token labor and environmental standards? The Obama administration will not even confront China on currency manipulation, yet we are going to get yet another job killing trade deal instead?

Meanwhile the press quotes China, Mexico and other countries blasting U.S. protectionism. This is hilarious since 83% of the non-oil trade deficit in the U.S. is with China and by currency manipulation alone, China is the biggest protectionist of the world. It obviously is paying off for them too with a Q4 2009 GDP of 10% projected.

Meanwhile Mexico is also claiming the U.S. is protectionist, another laugh. Now how much in remittances does Mexico get while importing (illegally) their labor oversupply? Last report is $25 billion per year. Now they want their cheap labor to officially drive trucks in the U.S., a plan vehemently opposed by the U.S. teamsters union for it would expose their members to labor arbitrage.

So much for bothering to fix the trade agreements we have or bothering to pay any attention to our trade imbalance. We only have an unemployment rate of 10.2% with U6 at 17.5%....and growing. Way to go! Thanks Obama!

Note this piece on Vox EU about global trade imbalances being the potential next great global crisis. Also note their analysis implies the U.S. will be right back to where we were before this financial Armageddon, with the trade imbalance growing to the point it threatens the nation.

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