Contrary to the White House’s sales pitch for negative trade policies, California’s exports to U.S. “free trade” agreement (FTA) partners have been growing more slowly than to the rest of the world.
We’re told that the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — which would expand the pattern trade model that has offshored U.S. jobs and lowered middle class wages — would boost exports. This false promise defies official government trade data, which show that U.S. export growth to FTA partners has lagged 20% behind export growth to non-FTA partners over the last decade.
Exports are only half of the trade equation. Under FTAs, imports have skyrocketed above exports, spurring harmful trade deficits that displace well-paying California jobs. Under the Korea FTA, the U.S. template for the TPP, the U.S. trade deficit in the top 10 products that California exports to Korea — from machinery to agricultural products — ballooned 47% in the agreement’s first two years.
Californians cannot afford surging trade deficits, offshored jobs and falling middle class wages. Nor can we afford the attack on our national sovereignty that the TPP brings by overriding our ability to enact local and state protective laws.