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Free Trade Agreements
Trade agreements are always controversial. Businesses do not like what many consider unfair competition, employees do not want to lose their jobs to cheaper labor, many feel it only benefits big businsses at the expense of small ones, and environmentalists fear it will lead to more environmental destruction in other countries.
These are all valid concerns. But trade agreements also open up new markets for businesses and can provide consumers with more choices of goods and services. If implemented properly, trade agreements can benefit all countries involved, albeit often in different ways.
I am not a protectionist. We like to complain about trade barriers and illegal subsidies in other countries, but we are often just as guilty. Removing such artificial barriers is generally a good thing.
I am sensitive to those who are negatively impacted by trade agreements, such as employees who lose their livelihoods due to cheaper labor. But even without trade agreements, competition will always exist, states and other countries with cheaper labor will always exist, and the pressure for businesses to move labor to cheaper places will always exist. I am not sure that a trade agreement with new countries will significantly increase those risks.
For those whose jobs are lost, we have a duty to help provide them with the education and skills training necessary to get a good-paying job.
Another benefit of trade agreements is the political agreements it creates between nations that previously may have made minimal or even hostile relations. Part of the justification for creating the European Union was to increase economic dependency among the European nations, thereby reducing the likelihood of another World War.