Catching the Bug

Tyler Cowen thinks free trade agreements are like the flu. I hope so. The new US-South Korea is a good deal. For way too long the Koreans have been restricting American imports while having free and unfettered access to US markets. Now, it seems, the Japanese are frightened that they will be left out in the cold. That's a contagion that is good for us.

These free trade initiatives come on the back of the Central American agreement and word that Germany wants more open trade with the US. They also follow several North American Free Trade Agreement that produced the biggest international trading block in the world. Both the Democrats under Clinton and Republicans under Bush have made strides in opening the US to more free trade. The results have been a more vibrant US economy.

One is left to wonder what how the next administration will perform. It is pretty clear that the Republicans will continue down this path. And I would suspect that Hillary understands the benefits for free trade, as did her husband. Obama and Edwards are another story. Beholden to unions, they might reverse direction. But you never know. The dangers of closing down the US economy might be too great even for those two.

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