The problem with trade agreements, By Michael Stumo

Letters to the Editor

The problem with trade agreements

In this April 22, 2014, file photo, a protester in Tokya rallies against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press)

May 5 at 6:19 PM

In his May 3 op-ed, “America, not China, should call the shots on trade,” President Obama made an eloquent case for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We heard similar arguments in favor of the South Korea trade agreement that passed Congress in 2011. Unfortunately, our trade deficit with South Korea doubled as a result of that deal. This means U.S. businesses and workers lost more domestic market share than we gained in South Korea. We also heard this siren song when China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. It was an attractive but false argument. The result was the worst trade performance between the United States and China in the history of our nation.

The United States has better net trade performance with countries with which we do not have trade agreements. That is because trade agreements, “high standards” or not, incentivize offshoring that exceeds any export gain.

Michael Stumo, Washington

The writer is chief executive
of the Coalition for a Prosperous America.