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Fair Trade, Not Necessarily Free Trade

By Sam Pierce
Most of us buy cheap products made in places like China and don’t give it a second thought. I usually don’t think about the purchases I make, but I should. I don’t think that we, as Americans should boycott Chinese made products completely.
We should work toward ensuring that American manufacturers aren’t at an agreement imposed disadvantage to foreign manufacturers. We should also work toward ensuring that our security and general well-being aren’t threatened by thoughtless or one-sided free trade agreements. We need to strive for fair trade with the other nations of the world.

Wall Street Journal editors, CEOs, and the Clintons may be enamored with NAFTA and most preferred nation status for China, but they don’t necessarily represent the average citizen. The average citizen isn’t isolated from the negative unintended consequences that result from some “free trade” agreements. Isolated elites in both major political parties seem to be more interested in short term gains by corporations and keeping Mexico happy than preserving the interests of their constituents.

Congressman and presidential candidate, Duncan Hunter is concerned about the deterioration of America’s “arsenal of democracy.” It is becoming increasingly difficult to find domestic suppliers of components critical to our defense and security. If an overseas supplier decides to stop supplying a component based on its opinion of our involvement (or lack of involvement) in a conflict, we would be hard pressed to replace the source. It seems foolishly short-sighted to depend so heavily on foreign resources, especially when those resources supply items vital to our national security. Security isn’t strictly a military issue.

The unfortunate consequences of NAFTA may have security and safety impacts across the U.S. The atrocity that this and prior administrations call border security and the unwillingness to enforce immigration law is only a part of our trade or business friendly problems with our Southern neighbor. I can’t imagine anyone that honestly believes that Mexican trucks that are to be allowed free access to our roadways, will be held to the same safety and emissions standards as our own trucks. By the way, if anyone does believe it, please e-mail me to discuss your purchase of The Clark Bridge.

Standards aren’t the only potential problem with the Mexican trucking program that is currently in its pilot phase. Smuggling will be facilitated by this program! That is of course unless every single truck is completely unloaded and checked for hidden compartments at the border.

I am also curious as to who is going to be responsible for ensuring these drivers can read the road signs and know our traffic laws? Who will guarantee that these drivers are insured and will not simply disappear in the event of an accident? I suggest that it is not a “free market principle” to drive down wages by hiring labor and truck drivers that don’t have to report their earnings and don’t have to adhere to the same cumbersome regulations as American labor and truckers.

There is a presidential theme in this column since at least one candidate, Congressman Duncan Hunter, will secure our Southern border and will seek fair trade overseas. Instead of graciously accepting China’s most preferred nation status and the further degradation of American manufacturing and security, Duncan Hunter would insist on leveling the field. China currently enjoys unfair advantages over American manufacturers, including currency manipulation (artificially low prices), less restrictive environmental regulations, and the use of near slave labor. Congressman Hunter envisions a “mirror trade” which involves a concept so often absent in modern politics and policy.

The concept that used to be known as common sense is prevalent in “mirror trade.” Tariffs imposed by one nation on American products will be exactly reflected on their exports to America. Imagine a common sense policy that doesn’t punish American manufacturers for following the rules. Imagine a common sense policy that doesn’t displace American workers for artificially cheaper workers from a foreign country. Imagine doing what is right for our country, not just our corporate executives. We don’t have to imagine all this, we can vote for Duncan Hunter! Sam Pierce is the Illinois State Director for Hunter for President 2008! He manages a blog and is a great patriot and contributor to the cause.
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