For release on May 4, 2017
New Book gives the President the “performance reviews” of U.S. trade relationships he has ordered, author says
Book published on April 25th adds up the effects of our trade relations, and the picture isn’t pretty.
On April 29th, President Donald Trump issued an order calling on the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative to “conduct comprehensive performance reviews” of U.S. trade relationships.
The President directed that each review should identify cases where a trade agreement, or relationship has failed to produce the predicted job creation, favorable trade balance, or increased access for U.S. exports. The order announced that U.S. policy would be to renegotiate or terminate such agreements and relationships.
Rather than wait 180 days for the agencies’ reports, the President could look to a new book published the same week, What if Things Were Made in America Again (Current Affairs Press, April 25, 2017), says the book’s author, James Stuber.
“I have sent a copy to the President; I hope he finds it helpful,” Stuber said.
In the book, Stuber adds up the effects of our trade agreements; running some 600 pages, thoroughly researched and documented, the book reveals some surprising, and disturbing, facts.
With regard to trade in goods:
· Some $16 trillion (in 2016 dollars) was drained from the U.S. economy into the economies of other countries from 1985 through 2015.
· Most of these losses, $11.5 trillion, occurred since 2001, when China entered the World Trade Organization.
· In 2015, the U.S. bought some $750 billion more foreign goods than it sold abroad.
· China’s deficit of some $370 billion accounted for nearly half of the total.
· Most of the rest of the deficit is from three countries: Japan, Germany, and Mexico.
· Of the remaining countries, Vietnam is a growing problem: since the 2001 U.S.-Vietnam trade agreement, Vietnam’s trade in goods deficit has grown from less than $1 billion in 2001 to over $31 billion in 2015.
· South Korea also is of concern; since the 2011 U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, South Korea’s deficit has doubled, from $14 billion in 2001 to nearly $30 billion in 2015.
· Losses from bilateral trade agreements and NAFTA exceed gains by three to one, about $150 billion in deficits versus $50 billion in surpluses.
The book then connects these trade deficits with job losses in the United States. Exploding myths of a “win-win” from free trade, Stuber shows –
An Independent Voice
Stuber said he hopes his book can be an independent source for accurate information on these topics. He noted what he sees as limitations in the agencies the President has tasked with the performance reviews. Stuber said:
In June of last year, the staff of the International Trade Commission issued a report on the economic impact of U.S. bilateral trade agreements, and concluded that they had a net positive effect on GDP, employment, and the trade balance with partner countries. It is hard to imagine how they could reach that conclusion in the face of the chronic trade deficits, job losses, and downward pressure on wages we have experienced. And the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, rather than representing America’s interests, often seems to have been acting as a cheerleader for trade, consequences be damned.
A Surprising Conclusion
After an in-depth assessment of our trade relations and the harm they have been causing, Stuber concludes that ultimately there is only one effective solution: for American consumers, and governments and companies when they are acting as consumers, to bring home their spending, creating jobs and getting a virtuous circle going again.
“The President means well,” Stuber said. “But there’s only so much he can do, even with the help of Congress. At the end of the day, it’s only consumers who can solve this problem, by bringing some of their spending home.”
“That’s what distinguishes this book: a final chapter with a practical solution – we will be rebuilding the middle class through the power of consumer choice.”
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The author, Jim Stuber, is available for interview via telephone or Skype, and in person in Philadelphia, New York, or Washington, D.C. To arrange for an interview or to obtain further information, he may be contacted directed at (610) 608-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.