Carol Shea Porter (CSP) continues to demonstrate her inability to grasp even the most basic concepts of governance. Back in May of 2009 she issued a press release promoting her signing on to a letter suggesting that the Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, (TPA) also called the Panama Free trade agreement (FTA), would in essence cost American Jobs. To Quote the congresswoman…
“”I don’t want to have to vote for unemployment benefits. I want to vote for jobs.””
And to quote from the body of the letter she signed on to…
“”This disconnect between the Panama FTA and the current needs to restore our economy will make any vote on this FTA difficult to justify. Indeed, it appears to be the opposite of the “change” theme Americans voted for in the last two elections.””
Unfortunately for Carol, the real disconnect is between what Big Labor Lobbying groups (her number one campaign donors) have told her change means, and the reality of the Panama TPA’s impact on trade and jobs in the US. But if Carol wants to dip her big toe in the waters of the international trade pool with blinders on, let me be the first to show you how she’s all wet.
Carol. Did you know that Panama already enjoys preferential access to American Markets through the Caribbean Basin initiative (CBI)? What that means is, that 96% of the goods coming from Panama already come into the United States duty free. 96% Carol. Duty Free. That’s a lot.
Carol, did you know that Congress actually approved the original CBI agreement way back in 1983, and free trade with central American and various Caribbean countries (which has been occurring in varying degrees since way back in the 1960’s) is actually one of the few areas of the world where the United States maintains a consistent trade surplus?
A surplus, Carol, means that we sell more American products to these countries than products that we actually buy from them. This event tends to create or save (catchy phrase eh?) more American jobs to support the increased demand for American made products in those countries. And that’s before we even pass the Panama Free Trade Agreement you have come out against.
So what evil and sinister undoing of such a prosperous arrangement does the FTA (TPA) represent?
The Panama FTA would open Panamanian markets to U.S. firms and farmers further by immediately allowing more than 88 percent of existing U.S. manufacturing exports (currently subject to a duty) to enter Panama duty-free.
For those of you playing along at home, that will make them more competitive by making them less expensive than they already are without the FTA in place. And if that were not enough, all remaining tariffs would be phased out over 10 years if the plan is approved.
Another advantage for American workers, compliments of a treaty Carol doesn’t like; 60 percent of current U.S. agricultural exports to Panama would receive duty-free treatment, with the remaining tariffs phasing out within 15 years.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving. A country that already has near limitless trade access to America, agrees to allow the United States similar access, and Carol thinks that’s bad for American jobs.
Maybe Carol would like to explain to the people of New Hampshire how making American products cheaper and more accessible to markets that already have nearly unlimited access to our country– markets where we can potentially create or improve on an existing trade surplus, will “make any vote on FTA difficult to justify?
I know you have to call someone first to find out what you should say Carol. We’ll be right here waiting.
Re posted and edited from the original at NHI